Teaching

Fall/Spring 2019/20: Phage Hunters Advancing Genomic and Evolutionary Science


In 1977, Fred Sanger and his colleagues developed a DNA sequencing technique with which they sequenced the first full genome – that of a bacteria-infecting viruses (i.e., a bacterio-phage) called ⏀-X174. His pioneering work changed the course of biology & medicine forever.

Now, it is your turn! In this
 year-long laboratory course, undergraduate STEM majors actively engage in research to discover, isolate, and computationally analyze bacteriophages. At the end of the academic year, a selection of students will be able to present their results at the national SEA-PHAGES symposium, held at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus, VA. Students must enrol in both semesters.

Topics – Part I (Phage Discovery):
* Sample collection field trip
* Isolation and purification of phages from the environmental samples
* Amplification of the purified phages
* Isolation of phage genomic DNA
* Restriction digest analyses of genomic DNA samples
* Visualization of phage morphology by electron microscopy
* Preparation and submission of phage DNA for sequencing

Topics – Part II (Bioinformatics):
* Annotate phage genomes
* Evaluate the overall genome structure
* Perform comparative genomic analyses
* Submission to GenBank

SEA-PHAGES has been shown to increase both the accessibility to research experiences for students as well as the persistence of these students in STEM disciplines: An inclusive Research Education Community (iREC)- Impact of the SEA-PHAGES program on research outcomes and student learning.

Spring 2019: The Human Genome (BIO-494/598; EVO-598)
This course focuses on the recent advances in human genetics that led to an improved understanding of the chronology of human evolution as well as the evolutionary inference related to the genetic basis of disease.

Fall 2018: Evolutionary Data Analysis (BIO-494/598; EVO-598)
This course focuses on the dissemination of historic as well as recent scientific literature in the field of evolution and hands-on evolutionary data analyses.

Spring 2018: General Genetics (BIO-340)
This course surveys the fundamental principles of genetics – the study of biological inheritance.