Science Education Alliance-Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science (SEA-PHAGES) is an undergraduate research course coordinated by the Pittsburgh Bacteriophage Institute and Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. Biology and Chemistry Department Chair Dr. Jacqueline Washington, who coordinates Nyack’s involvement in the program, recently announced, “The Nyack College abstract for the national SEA-PHAGES Symposium was selected for an oral presentation for the fourth time in four years and fifth time in the seven years we have been a part of the program.”
Dr. Washington adds, “It’s an honor to be selected, as only 18-20 schools are chosen out of 150+ participating. Angela de Jesus will be representing us this year and will be giving the presentation based on the abstract entitled, “Non-Mycobacterial Actinobacteriophages Providing More Insight to Phage Biology.”
Angela, a biology major from Quezon City, Philippines, was happy to share her enthusiasm about this opportunity. “Ever since we isolated bacteriophages, viruses which infect bacteria, from our soil samples in BIO107, I was interested in discovering further their characteristics and how they contribute in various fields such as medicine. Considering phages can be found anywhere and are abundant and yet only a few of their genomes are sequenced and characterized, it has been a great blessing to be a part of the SEA-PHAGES program and contribute to its research,” says Angela. “I am gaining a lot of knowledge and experience about phages through the experiments that I do at the lab.”
There’s no surprise in Angela’s plan for her future.
“My career aspiration is to become a doctor who would also do medical missions in countries that do not have good health services while also sharing the Gospel. I’m an international student from the Philippines, and so when I came to Nyack the spring of 2018, it was all new to me. But throughout my studies here at Nyack, it has opened a lot of opportunities for me to excel academically and step out of my comfort zone…like doing the oral presentation at the 2019 SEA-PHAGES Symposium.”
“At Nyack, I believe I grew more dependent on God, trusting Him always because it’s not easy being an international student. Nyack also has been teaching me to not only understand human wounds and diseases, but also understand the spiritual wounding and the disease of the soul.”