#SEAsymp2015

Braving the heat in our business casual, we set out for 19700 Helix Drive in Ashburn, Virginia for the 7th Annual SEA-PHAGES (Science Education Alliance-Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science… whew!) Symposium on Friday, June 12th. Equipped with our poster and hours of preparation, Maddi Strine and I (Alex Agesen) were ready to present the research of our peers from Gettysburg College’s Virus Hunting program for First Year students to our fellow phage fanatics at HHMI Janelia Research Campus. An analysis of the genomic features of the subcluster B1 mycobacteriophage Phamished, isolated on Mycobacterium smegmatis mc2155 by Gettysburg’s very own Sarah Brantley, was our particular topic of discussion.

Phamished_EMPic

Phamished, a B1 mycobacteriophage isolated at Gettysburg College and sequenced at the University of Pittsburgh Bacteriophage Institute.

Alongside us stood students from nearly 90 other colleges, universities, and high schools, eager to present their findings which ranged from new protocols for phage isolation to analyses of the palindromes utilized by restriction enzymes in phage genomes. Interspersed throughout the weekend were 18 student-led and 4 faculty-led talks to the symposium audience as a whole.

20150613_161304

Maddi and I presenting on “Phamished and the Cluster B Phages”

Following our presentation, we ventured outside for a closer look at the elusive “Red Nessie.” We couldn’t leave without a token picture with Janelia’s famous sculpture.

FullSizeRender

Transmembrane protein or Loch Ness Monster? You decide!

The weekend was not ALL phages, however, as we learned a thing or two about high resolution light microscopy from the 2014 Nobel Prize laureate in chemistry, Eric Betzig. We were also graced with a talk by the University of Pittsburgh’s Graham Hatfull, one of the researchers responsible for initiating the SEA-PHAGES program.

poster outside

Poster presentations in action from across the pond

All in all, we had an enlightening first experience sharing research with other institutions, and we loved seeing so many educators and scientists with such enthusiasm for undergraduate research. Putting Phamished on the back burner, we are continuing to work with bacteriophage isolation and annotation from hosts of the Actinobacteria phylum, expanding the host range of our phages to Micromonospora.

FullSizeRender (1)

From left to right: Alex Agesen, Greg Krukonis, and Maddi Strine.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s