College of Arts & Sciences

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Grant for Science Education at SJU

Phage Safari


Saint Joseph’s University was selected to participate in the second cohort of ca. 12 schools funded by HHMI to implement a research-based, freshman laboratory course in bacteriophage genomics, as part of the HHMI-supported, Science Education Alliance – Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science (SEA PHAGES) program.  During the fall semester, students purify and characterize a unique bacteriophage from soil, and isolate its DNA.  DNA from one phage is selected to be sequenced over the winter break, and students conduct genome annotation during the spring semester using bioinformatic tools.  Now in its third year at SJU, two bacteriophage genomes, mycobacteriophage Daisy and mycobacteriophage BPBiebs31 have been sequenced, annotated, submitted and published in Genbank, the repository of genome information maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), and four other genomes are in the sequencing or annotation phase.

Phage Safari (Bio 150L:  Phage Genomics Laboratory) satisfies the GEP First Year Seminar requirement.  Click here to hear what students say about Phage Safari.