In This Section
- News by Topic
- Media Resources
- University Events
- 5K Race for Humanity
- Advances in Pharmacy Practice
- Alumni Reunion Weekend
- Continuing Pharmacy Education
- Discover Series
- Family Fall Fest
- Founders’ Day
- Graduate Student Orientation
- Healthy Lifestyles Social Media Business Competition
- Lois K. Cohen Lecture Series
- Making the Connections
- The Bernard J. Malis Memorial Lectureship in Humanities
- Misher Festival of Fine Arts and Humanities
- MLK Day of Service
- Patricia Leahy Memorial Lecture
- Pharmacy-Based Immunization Delivery Training
- Philadelphia Science Festival
- REEP Annual Symposium and Networking Event
- Research Day
- Undergraduate Research Symposium
- Welcome Week
- Welcome Receptions for Dr. Paul Katz
- USciences in the News
- The Bulletin Alumni Magazine
- The Insider Newsletter Signup
USciences Expands SEA-PHAGES Research Program for First Year Students
Written by Jenna Pizzi
Published on July 26, 2016
Due to its popularity among students, the SEA-PHAGES (Science Education Alliance-Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science) program at University of the Sciences will expand in the 2017 school year to allow more first-year students to participate in the hands-on, research-based course.
“Students learn extremely valuable skills and techniques during the program,” said Dr. Nicole Sunnen, assistant professor of biological studies and the primary faculty for the program. “Students learn science by actually doing science.”
During the program, which spans two semesters and is only open to first-year students, the research begins with the students extracting viruses from soil samples. Student then analyze and discover the virus using complex genomic annotation and bioinformatic analyses. USciences was selected last year to join the nearly 100 institutions that are a part of the consortium
“The students are contributing significantly to the larger scientific community through this research,” said Dr. Sunnen. “Each phage identified is archived, catalogued online and made available to researchers around the world for further analysis.”
This year USciences students found 16 novel viruses and studied them to determine their properties, cataloguing their findings in a national database for other researchers to access when studying the bacteriophages. Two of the bacteriophages—Porcelain and Audrick—were chosen for additional student-driven research projects.
In addition to research skills, two students who completed the program in the 2015-16 school year traveled to the 8th Annual SEA-PHAGES Symposium. The meeting of approximately 84 institutions who have SEA-PHAGES programs was held in June 2016 at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Farms Research Campus in Ashburn, Virginia.
Samantha Donovan BMS’19 and Shivsai Gongalla BMS’19 were selected to give an oral presentation on the research.
Donovan said in addition to research skills she learned a few public speaking skills at the symposium, too.
“I felt so lucky to be at such a prestigious institution and to meet so many interesting people from across the nation,” said Donovan. “Being surrounded by so many students who understood the research we had done was indescribable.”
The ability to participate in a hands-on research opportunity during her first semesters in college was a big draw for Donovan, who said she first heard about the SEA-PHAGES program at accepted students’ day.
“The class helped me see my passion for research and my desire to continue with it into my academic career,” said Donovan, who is studying biomedical science and hopes to eventually go to medical school.
Categories: News, Feature Story, Faculty, Students, Academics, Misher College, Department of Behavioral Sciences, Department of Biology, Department of Chemistry, Department of Health Policy, Department of Humanities, Department of Kinesiology, Department of Mathematics, Department of Occupational Therapy, Department of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Business, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Department of Pharmacy Practice, Department of Physical Education, Department of Physical Therapy, Department of Physician Assistant Studies, Behavioral Health, Biochemistry, Bioinformatics, Biology, Biomedical Sciences, Biomedical Writing, Brewing Science, Business, Cancer Biology, Cell and Molecular Biology, Chemistry, Communication, Environmental Science, Exercise Science and Wellness Management, Forensic Science, Healthcare Navigation, Health Policy, Health Psychology, Health Science, Humanities and Science, Mathematics, Microbiology, Medical Anthropology, Medical Laboratory Science, Neuroscience, Occupational Therapy, Pre-Med, Physical Therapy, Physics, Physician Assistant Studies, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pharmaceutics, Pharmacognosy, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Pharmacy, Pharmacy Administration, Physical Therapy, Psychology, Public Health, Sociology, Writing Program, Biology Homepage, Biomedical Sciences Homepage, Environmental Science Homepage, Forensic Science Homepage, Pre-med Homepage