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LETU Biology Department to Host SEA-PHAGES Conference April 7,8


LeTourneau University Department of Biology will host the inaugural South-Central U.S.A. SEA-PHAGES Research Symposium on Friday and Saturday, April 7 and 8, on the LETU campus, 2100 S. Mobberly Ave. in Longview.

SEA-PHAGES, which stands for the Science Education Alliance-Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science, is an undergraduate research project in partnership with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Science Education Alliance.

The SEA-PHAGES program is a discovery-based undergraduate research that enables students to discover new viruses using a variety of microbiology techniques and complex genome annotation and analysis. Students find and name their own unique bacteriophages that could eventually lead to medical breakthroughs.

Phages are important because they are viruses that attack bacteria, and as bacteria mutate, the phages can also mutate and can kill the bacteria.

"Certain strains of tuberculosis are particularly antibiotic-resistant and mutate quickly," said Dr. Greg Frederick, chair of biology at LETU. "Using these viruses as alternative treatment could potentially solve problems of tuberculosis and other antibiotic-resistant diseases."

The LETU conference will provide students involved in the SEA-PHAGES program at universities across the country to meet each other and share research. Faculty and students participating in this first conference include Baylor University, University of North Texas, University of Louisiana Monroe and James Madison University. The conference is anticipated to be an annual event.

The conference will begin at 3:30 p.m. Friday with a welcome from LETU President Dr. Dale A. Lunsford, followed by a keynote address from Dr. Steve Cresawn, associate professor of biology at James Madison University. A social event for student interaction will be from 6:30 to 9 p.m. in the AFSC commons area.

Students will give oral presentations on their research beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday morning in the Allen Family Student Center Great Room. Poster presentations will follow at 9 a.m. with faculty talks beginning at 11 a.m.

LETU is one of only 101 universities worldwide-one of only a handful of universities in Texas and the only one in East Texas-partnering with the PHAGES program.

LeTourneau University is the premier Christian polytechnic university in the nation where educators engage students to nurture Christian virtue, develop competency and ingenuity in their professional fields, integrate faith and work, and serve the local and global community. LETU offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs across a range of disciplines and delivery models at LETU's residential campus in Longview, Texas, and in hybrid and fully online options at centers in Dallas and Houston.

Categories: Biology