The HHMI SEA-PHAGES project offers a year-long research-based laboratory course for undergraduates with little or no background in college-level biology.

The course is intended for first-year students and spans two terms:

  • First term: Students isolate phages from soil samples they collect. They conduct electron microscopy, isolate phage DNA, and submit phage genomes for sequencing.
  • Second term: Students analyze the genomes through bioinformatics.

Course Objectives

  • Instill in each student a sense of ownership of a scientific problem
  • Discover new scientific information
  • Encourage close student-faculty interactions and effective mentoring
  • Enable faculty development via training and inter-institutional collaboration

Critical Thi​nking

  • Data analysis and interpretation
  • Experimental design
  • Reading and analysis of primary literature
  • Understanding applications of mathematical modeling in problem solving

Laboratory Experienc​es

  • Aseptic technique
  • Microbiology
  • Molecular biology
  • Electron microscopy
  • DNA sequencing
  • Comparative genomic analysis
  • Functional genomic analysis
  • Genome annotation

Professional D​evelopment

  • Effective presentation of research 
  • Networking with other SEA participants
  • Dissemination of research findings including co-authorship on peer-reviewed publications and submissions to genomic databases