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 150 institutions in 2019. These institutions vary from community colleges and major research universities, and in the 2018-2019 academic year, over 5,000 students were involved, 80% of which were either first year or second year undergraduates.
The SEA-PHAGES program both enhances student learning gains and research advances. Over 15,000 individual phages have been isolated and nearly 3,000 completely sequenced, contributing to over 40 peer-reviewed publications. Further information about the phages can be found at phagesdb.org and information about the program is at seaphages.org.