The Science Education Alliance Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science (SEA-PHAGES) initiative is a broadly implemented program administered by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), the University of Pittsburgh, and James Madison University. The goal is to support the use of the bacteriophage discovery and genomics platform to introduce authentic research experiences to early career undergraduate students, primarily at the undergraduate level.
SEA-PHAGES was implemented with its first cohort of twelve colleges and universities in 2008, and has grown to include nearly 100 institutions in 2015. These institutions vary from community colleges and major research universities, and in the 2014-2015 academic year, over 2,600 students were involved, 80% of which were either first year or second year undergraduates.
The SEA-PHAGES program both enhance students learning gains and research advances. Over 6000 individual phages have been isolated and about 900 completely sequenced, contributing to over 20 peer-reviewed publications. Further information about the phages cannot be found at phagesdb.org and about the program at seaphages.org.