Connection - Summer 2017

Page 8

Biology students make unique discoveries Three Georgia College biology students are participating in an

New phages are easy to find, but little has been done in the

international research project. Recent alumna Audrey Waits,

Southeast. So, the odds of finding them here are good. An

junior Shea Morris, and junior Keira Stacks each uncovered

online map shows a concentration of phage found around

new bacteriophages, which are viruses that infect bacteria,

Atlanta, but new bacteriophage discoveries at Georgia College

unknown to science until now.

are alone in central and southeastern portions of the state.

College and high school students worldwide are participating

“The isolation, sequencing, and analysis of these novel

in the project. They enter discoveries into the

bacteriophages by our students will add to our body of

Actinobacteriophage Database, which collects information for

knowledge of this genetically diverse population. Relatively

the Pittsburgh Bacteriophage Institute at the University of

little is known about the evolution of bacteriophages,” said Dr.

Pittsburgh’s department of biological sciences.

Indiren Pillay, chair of biological and environmental sciences.

The project’s goal is to encourage scientific research in youth, but it also promotes the DNA sequencing and characterization of useful viruses. connection magazine | 8 |

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