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Phage genomics research initiative at UWRF

     "I made a difference in the scientific world from inside a classroom" - Fall 2010 student

Phage 2UW-River Falls has been selected to participate in the Science Education Alliance (SEA), sponsored by the Howard Huges Medical Institute (HHMI), for 2010-13. This project creates hands-on research opportunities for first-year students as a part of a national experiment to improve undergraduate biology education. Students enrolled in the two-semester course sequence will:

  • Isolate bacterial viruses (phage) from local soil
  • Prepare the virus DNA for sequencing
  • Annotate and compare the sequenced genome
  • Collaborate with other institutions in the SEA network

Who can participate? Any freshman biology or biotechnology major who is not taking a remedial course during their first semester may enroll in the HHMI courses during summer registration, until the courses are filled. Students must take the entire HHMI course sequence.

Fall Semester 2011

BIOL 150, General Biology (3 cr). This is a special section of the introductory biology course for majors that will incorporate the phage isolation and analysis project as part of the lab sequence for the course.

BIOL 289, Phage research (1 cr). This course provides additional lab time for isolating phage and characterizing them by electron microscopy and DNA analysis. It counts as an elective course in the biology major.


Spring Semester 2012

BIOL 295, Laboratory Research Experience (2 cr). This is a special section of this elective course for the biology major, that will incorporate the phage genomic project as its main laboratory focus.

BIOL 289, Phage genomics (1 cr). This course provides additional class time for characterizing the phage genome by annotating the sequence, comparing it with known phages, and preparing the analysis for publication. It counts as an elective course in the biology major.

Upon completion of the entire course sequence, students will have received credit for BIOL 150 and also 4 credits of electives toward the biology major. One student will be selected to present his or her research at the SEA conference in June, 2012.