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

2023 SEA Symposium FAQ

Below are some guidelines to help you and your students prepare for the upcoming symposium. These include guidelines for:


March 21, 2023:          Deadline to register for the Symposium.
March 21, 2023:          Deadline for abstract submission.
March 23, 2023:          Those selected to give talks will be notified.
April 13, 2023:               Deadline to upload Posters and Poster-videos to the symposium website.
April 14 – 16, 2023:     Attend the symposium.



Who should register?
All SEA faculty, and all SEA student-researchers from the 2022 - 2023 academic year, are invited to register and attend the 2023 SEA symposium.

How do I register?
All SEA faculty members will receive instructions and a registration link by email on March 6, 2023. You will be asked to forward a registration email to your students. Registration will close March 21, 2023.


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 (See link within your institution's homepage on, 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 section of SEA students to submit one poster that describes their SEA research from the 2022 – 2023 academic year. If your school has multiple SEA sections, PHAGES or GENES, you may choose to submit one poster for each section or research project, or you can choose to submit one poster that summarizes the work of many sections or 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?
Posters should be prepared to be used in two ways, and both are due by April 13, 2023.

  • For a live presentation: Posters should be prepared as a single Powerpoint slide using the following template, and saved as a PDF file. During the poster session, presenters will refer to this single slide PDF when presenting.
    Download the Poster Template and Example here.
  • For asynchronous viewing:  With hundreds of posters being presented, not everyone will be able to visit your poster during the poster session. As such, we ask that you also prepare a 5-minute video recording of the author(s) presenting their poster. This recording will be uploaded to the symposium site ahead of the symposium so that all "video-posters" are available throughout the meeting. Please add closed captioning to your video. Video software like Zoom can be used to both record the presentation and add closed captioning.

What should I include in my abstract(s) and poster(s)?
Given that the symposium will happen during your ongoing research semester, we recognize that posters will likely feature a project that is a “work in progress”. This is a great opportunity for you to discuss your research with your SEA colleagues and get feedback to inform your 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 on.
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?

The poster sessions will be live sessions hosted in Gathertown, which is a virtual space designed as a yacht where participants can move around using the arrow keys on their keyboard and can connect with others via video and audio based on proximity.

In this virtual space, each submitted poster will have an assigned space, and a poster presenter should stand by their poster. As an attendee walks up to a poster, their video and audio will connect with the poster presenter. A link at each poster allows the attendee and presenter to both view the single poster slide at the same time. A video tutorial about the yacht and the poster session will be provided soon.

Here are a couple of additional logistics.

  • Each poster should be co-presented by an instructor and student.
  • The poster session on Saturday will be for even-numbered posters, whereas the poster session on Sunday will be for odd-numbered posters.  Poster presenters can locate their poster number on the Symposium meeting site (Whova platform), and should then plan to present at their respective poster session.

Here are a couple of recommendations.

  • While any individual student is unlikely to be able to visit all the posters being presented during the dedicated poster sessions, collectively your group of students may be able to. Much the same way in which a few members of a lab who attend a scientific meeting return to share the science they learned with the rest of the lab, we encourage you to consider organizing a post-symposium lab group meeting where your students can share with the group what they each learned from the various posters they attended. If you are considering implementing this, it may be worth informing students of your plans before they attend the symposium.
  • Since all symposium attendees will continue to have access to the symposium meeting site for several months after the symposium is over, we encourage you to consider engaging your students with the various video-posters, particularly those that were not on the same yacht as your students, as part of their ongoing PHAGES and GENES research.

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 6 – 17, 2023.

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 single-slide poster as well as your video-poster to the Symposium Meeting Website. 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 13, 2023.


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 23.
We encourage you to submit a poster (and 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 3 types of sessions for talks:

  • SEA Research Sessions: These sessions will include several back-to-back 10-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.
  • SEA Lead Scientist Session: This 50-min presentation will feature our SEA-PHAGES lead scientist, Graham Hatfull.
  • Keynote Session: The keynote presentation by Karine Gibbs will be presented in two parts.
    • Part.1 will be a pre-recorded presentation that will be made available to all attendees the week of April 3, and
    • Part.2, which builds on Part.1, will be a live presentation during the symposium. All attendees should watch Part.1 ahead of the symposium. We encourage faculty and students to watch and discuss Part.1 together.


How will symposium attendees be able to interact?

The entire Symposium will be hosted in Gathertown, a virtual meeting platform. This means all attendees can connect with one another, via video and audio, throughout the meeting.

  • Talks will be hosted in the conference rooms in Gathertown, and attendees will be able to walk up to a virtual microphone to ask questions. Attendees can also use the live chat to ask questions.
  • Posters will be hosted in the poster rooms in Gathertown, and attendees will be engage with poster presenters by video and audio during the poster session. Anyone unable to attend a poster during the dedicated poster session can use a messaging feature for each video-poster outside of the poster session.
  • For all other times, including socials, we encourage all attendees to wander the virtual spaces in Gathertown built for the Symposium. You will be able to interact with one another via video and audio, and you can also interact with games, watch HHMI shows, 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 21, 2023:          Deadline to register for the Symposium.
March 21, 2023:          Deadline for abstract submission.
March 23, 2023:          Those selected to give talks will be notified.
April 13, 2023:               Deadline to upload Poster-videos to the symposium website.
April 14 – 16, 2023:     Attend the symposium.

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