Campus News: Lee University Accepted in SeaPhages Program

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Lee University Accepted in SeaPhages Program
Merritt Jenkins - 3/16/2022

Lee University Accepted in SeaPhages Program


Lee University was accepted to participate in the SeaPhages program, an opportunity for students to do research during their freshman year. The program, jointly administered by Graham Hatfull's group at the University of Pittsburgh and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Science Education division, will officially begin in the fall of 2022.


"The SeaPhage program is an exciting opportunity for our students to engage in impactful research beginning their first semester on campus," said Dr. Joseph Daft, professor of biology at Lee. "It will also allow them to experience one-on-one mentorship with our experienced science faculty."


SeaPhages (Science Education Alliance Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science) is a two-semester, discovery-based undergraduate research course that begins with digging in the soil to find new viruses and progresses through a variety of microbiology techniques and eventually to complex genome annotation and bioinformatic analyses.


The program aims to increase undergraduate interest and retention in the biological sciences through immediate immersion in authentic, valuable, yet accessible research. By finding and naming their own bacteriophages, students develop a sense of project ownership and have a ready-made personal research project at a fraction of the cost of traditional apprentice-based research programs.


Students will collect bacteria samples for the local ecosystem and analyze the samples in Lee's laboratory. After research has been completed, students can present their bacteriophages at the SeaPhages Symposium.


"We look forward to partnering with our students in this research experience," said Dr. Lori West, Lee professor of biology. "We'll have the opportunity to learn while contributing to science. This will be a truly rewarding experience."


For more information, visit or email West at or Daft at

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