Springtime brings to Virginia the annual Phage Phest, a celebration of undergraduate research work on bacteriophage, or viruses that infect bacteria. H-SC sent 7 students from the Molecular Biology and Genomics courses who have worked on the bacteriophage project to the College of William and Mary to participate in Phage Phest, along with students and faculty from Virginia Commonwealth University, James Madison University, the University of Mary Washington, and the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. Also attending was Dr. Sarah Fortune of the Harvard School of Public Health, who delivered the keynote address on the new challenges of tuberculosis research.
Jonathan Park ’12 and Greg Robertson ’12 presented the class’ project from this semester, a characterization of bacteriophage Arturo, discovered at H-SC by Duncan Oliphant ’12.
The meeting allowed the H-SC students to interact with and discuss the research progress they have made this year with students at other schools working on similar projects. The bacteriophage initiative, a part of H-SC association with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Science Education Alliance, will continue next year with the isolation of a fresh round of bacteriophages for analysis. The current class will finish characterization of Arturo and place the information in GenBank, a repository of the United States National Library of Medicine for genetic sequence material.