The official website of the HHMI Science Education Alliance-Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science program.


As we gear up for the upcoming symposium, below are some guidelines to help you and your students prepare. Included are guidelines for the following:


Who should register?

All SEA faculty, and all SEA student-researchers from this academic year (Fall 2020 and/or Spring 2021), are invited to register and attend to 2021 SEA symposium.

How do I register?

All SEA faculty members will have received instructions to register for the symposium by email on March 1, 2021. If you are a SEA faculty member and need these instructions, please contact us at If you are a SEA student from the 2020 – 2021 academic year and need these instructions, please contact your SEA instructor.


Who should submit abstracts and posters?
SEA Faculty are responsible for submitting all abstracts and posters. Poster abstracts will be submitted via the program website, whereas the final posters will be uploaded to the symposium meeting website. Instructions for abstract and poster submissions are provided below.

How many posters should be submitted?
We encourage each SEA school to submit at least one poster that describes their SEA research from the 2020 – 2021 academic year. Since we are not limited by space this year, each school can submit as many posters as they have data to present. For example, if your school has multiple SEA sections, PHAGES or GENES, you may choose to submit one poster for each section or research project. Alternatively, you can choose to submit one poster that summarizes many projects. Faculty are also welcomed to submit posters describing SEA-related research that goes beyond their PHAGES and GENES courses.

What is the format for each poster?
This year, we are asking for posters to be submitted as short video recordings of ~ 5 minutes. This will allow attendees to view poster presentations asynchronously throughout the meeting. Minimally, the video must include a visual representation of your data and an accompanying narration. For example, your video poster can be prepared as a recorded PowerPoint presentation. We encourage you to be creative! Finally, please add closed captioning for your video. The University of Washington's recommendations for doing so using free online tools can be viewed here. Contact us at if you need assistance.

What should I include in my abstract(s) and poster(s)?
Given that the symposium will happen early in your semester, we recognize that poster videos will likely feature a project that is a “work in progress”. This presents a new opportunity for the SEA, allowing faculty and student researchers to discuss their work with their SEA colleagues and get feedback to inform the ongoing research. Therefore, we encourage you to include the following items in your poster, adding or subtracting from this list as you see fit.
i. goal(s) of your project(s),
ii. methodology, especially if it includes techniques that are not core to the SEA projects,
iii. findings, whether they be complete data figures or early observations,
iv. research or questions that will be explored next, in the remainder of the semester or beyond,
v. questions related to your research that the SEA community (i.e., poster attendees) might be able to provide insight.
vi. and of course, the usual poster items such as your school logo, poster title, and author information.
Your abstract will represent a summary of what will be included in your poster and can primarily focus on items i, iii, iv from the list below. There is a 3,000 character-limit for abstracts.

What is the format for the poster session?
This year we will be introducing PosterPacks. Each PosterPack will consist of ~ 5 faculty members who have authored posters for the symposium. As a member of a PosterPack, faculty members and their students should plan to view and provide feedback for the posters of their PosterPack members. Of course, you should also plan to visit many other posters! Schools will be notified of PosterPack assignments by April 2. Since posters will also be uploaded by April 2, faculty members and their students will have the opportunity to view the video-posters of their PosterPack members ahead of time to discuss feedback that could be provided.

There will be two formal poster sessions, one on Saturday and another on Sunday, providing dedicated time for attendees to view poster videos. However, posters will also be available for viewing throughout the symposium. A chat feature will be available for each poster and will be the primary way attendees and poster authors interact with one another. We encourage faculty to assign at least one poster author to be present during the session to answer questions via the chat. Ideally, multiple authors for a given poster will take turns managing the poster chat.

On the second poster session (Sunday), we will ALSO host a series of concurrent Poster Discussion sessions. In each Poster Discussion session, the ~ 5 faculty members from each PosterPack will gather as a group, via Zoom, to discuss their posters / on-going research projects. Each faculty member should invite one student representative to join them for the poster discussion session. The goal of these poster discussion sessions is for SEA researchers to support each other, learn more about the exciting science done in the SEA, and move ongoing research projects forward. A discussion guide to facilitate these discussions is available for download here. Each discussion will be recorded and made available to the community at a later date.

The symposium agenda lists the dates and times for poster sessions.

How do I submit my abstract(s)?

Once you are signed in at, links to add, modify, or view an abstract are provided at the top of your institution page. Abstracts should be submitted between March 1 – 16, 2021.

How do I submit my poster(s)?

Once you have submitted your abstracts, SEA staff will send you a unique link for each poster. With this unique link, you will be able to upload your video poster to the Symposium Meeting Website, either by submitting a hyperlink to the poster-video or by uploading the poster-video file. There are 4 steps to uploading your video-poster. A Step-by-Step guide can be downloaded here. Video-posters should be submitted by April 2, 2021.


Yes! If you would like your abstract to be considered for a talk, you can indicate so during abstract submission. If your abstract is selected for a talk, you will be notified by March 19.
We encourage you to submit a poster-video even if you are selected to give a talk, since the poster session is an additional and important opportunity for faculty and student co-authors, and other symposium attendees to interact and discuss research.

What are the formats for talks?

We have several slots set aside for SEA faculty and student researchers to present 12-minute talks (+3 minutes for Q&A). Talks will be presented live. Speakers will be invited to a practice session in the weeks prior to the meeting so that they are familiar with the technology.
There will also be two featured talks, one by our keynote speaker, Forest Rohwer, and another by our very own Graham Hatfull. The symposium agenda lists the dates and times for talks.


How will symposium attendees be able to interact?

To provide many opportunities for you and your students to connect with the SEA community, there will be multiple ways for symposium attendees to interact, suited to particular sessions. We encourage all to participate in these interactions.

  • For talks, attendees will be able to ask questions via a Q&A and respond to polls.
  • For posters, presenters and visitors will be able to interact via a dedicated chat box at each poster.
  • We are particularly excited to feature a new gathering space, which allows every attendee to explore a common virtual space. In this space, you can see other attendees, wander up to each other to automatically launch a video-session, interact with games, watch HHMI shows, visit a photo booth, and more! We encourage attendees to use this space to meet between or after sessions to discuss science, or to simply catch up with old friends and to meet and make new friends.

What are important dates?
March 12, 2021:          Deadline to register for the Symposium.
March 16, 2021:          Deadline for abstract submission.
March 19, 2021:          Those selected to give talks will be notified.
April 2, 2021:               Schools notified of “Poster Group” assignments.
April 2, 2021:               Deadline to upload Poster-videos to the symposium website.
April 9 – 11, 2021:       Attend the symposium.

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