Ibadan Bacteriophage Research Team: A SEA-PHAGES team with a difference

Issue 102 | November 20, 2020
8 min read
Capsid and Tail

The Ibadan Bacteriophage Research Team. Photo credit: Tolulope Oduselu.

This week, Tolulope Oduselu and Olubusuyi Adewumi of the Ibadan Bacteriophage Research Team describe their recently-launched initiative to foster research participation for undergraduate students at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria.

Urgent November 18, 2020

Urgent need for Serratia marcescens phages for a patient

Phage Therapy

We are urgently seeking Serratia marcescens phages for a patient.

Ways to help at this stage:

  • By sending your phages for testing on the patient’s strain
  • By receiving the strain and testing your phages
  • By receiving the strain and using it to search for new phages against the organism
  • By helping spread the word about this request
  • By providing us with names/email addresses of labs you think we should contact

Please email [email protected] if you can help in any way, or if you would like further details/clarification.

Let’s make a difference,
Phage Directory

Add your voice to the State of Phage 2020 Survey!

State of Phage 2020 logo

In celebration of our 100th issue of Capsid & Tail, we launched a survey called State of Phage 2020! We created this survey to help us all better understand the phage research community globally, including what kind of phages people are collecting, what methods they’re using, and more. If you work with phages, please fill it out! We’ll compile and share the results in Capsid & Tail in 2021, and repeat the survey annually so we can all follow and share our community’s exciting growth over time.

Thanks so much to the 55 of you who’ve already completed the survey, and to those who have shared it!!

We’d love if you continued sharing it with friends! https://survey.phage.directory/

Take the State of Phage 2020 Survey

What’s New

Earlier this month we posted that Adaptive Phage Therapeutics received emergency FDA authorization to treat a group of COVID-19 patients in Texas with A. baumannii infections. Now, they’ve received expanded access authorization to use their phages to treat COVID-19 patients with bacterial infections nationwide.

Biotech newsCOVIDPhage Therapy

Ruby Lin (Wesmead Institute for Medical Research, Australia) and colleagues published a Nature Microbiology blog post on their work toward establishing an Australian Phage Network. This post follows up on their Nature Microbiology paper from earlier this year, which described their completed IV phage therapy case series — here they describe their effort to translate this knowhow into building a national phage therapeutics consortium in Australia.

BlogPhage Therapy

Fernando Gordillo Altamirano and Jeremy Barr (Monash University) published a new perspective in Current Opinion in Biotechnology entitled “Unlocking the next generation of phage therapy: the key is in the receptors”. They argue that identifying the receptors a phage recognizes should be part of the standard pipeline before its use in phage therapy. For a fantastic walkthrough, check out this Twitter thread by @NandoGordillo.

Phage TherapyPhage-host interactionsPerspective

Check out this ID Hub podcast, where Juandem Agendia and Sarah Alexander of the National Collection of Type Cultures (NCTC, UK) discuss phages, the function of the NCTC, and the importance of depositing phages in the NCTC collection to improve accessibility and reproducibility in phage research.

Phage collectionsPodcast

Britt Koskella (Associate Professor in Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley) has received the Fleming Prize from the Microbiology Society (awarded to an early career researcher who has achieved an outstanding research record) for her work on the importance of bacteria and phages in shaping plant health, ecology, and evolution. Congrats Dr. Koskella!


Latest Jobs

PhD projectPhage TherapySynthetic biology
The Jaschke lab at Macquarie University (Sydney, Australia) has an opening for a PhD student to work within a multidisciplinary team on a cutting-edge NHMRC-funded project at the intersection of synthetic biology and phage therapy: engineering new phage to address antibiotic resistant uropathogenic E. coli infections. Applicants must be Australian citizens or permanent residents.
Marine phagesPost Doc
The University of Tennessee (Knoxville, Tennessee) is hiring a postdoc to study phages that infect a member of the Roseobacter lineage of marine bacteria.

Community Board

Anyone can post a message to the phage community — and it could be anything from collaboration requests, post-doc searches, sequencing help — just ask!

Good day! I am a 3rd year Medical Technology student from the Philippines and we are currently looking for MS2 Escherichia coli bacteriophage for our thesis project. I hope you can help me to look for the above said bacteriophage sample. Thank you so much. Email: [email protected] | FB/IG: @geordetteeve

Seeking phages

The African Phage Forum is a new collaborative network of African phage researchers to promote and sensitize phage research in Africa, created by Dr. Emmanuel Nnadi, Dr. Rita Nakayinga, and Dr. Juliah Khayeli. They aim to motivate and mentor phage research students in African universities, share protocols, encourage collaboration, and work to advance phage research and policy implementation at national levels. Join the What’s App group here!

New initiative

We have started a small association in Switzerland called phageSuisse to bring different actors of phage therapy in Switzerland together. With this association, we launched a small webinar series. The first webinar will be on December 1st by Dr. Shawna McCallin. Her talk will be entitled “Moving Clinical Trials for Phage Therapy Forward”.

Virtual Event

Ibadan Bacteriophage Research Team: A SEA-PHAGES team with a difference

Profile Image
Group Leader
Ibadan Bacteriophage Research Team, University of Ibadan
Twitter @tj_oduselu

Bioinformatics, Molecular Biology, Undergraduate research, Data Analytics, Phage isolation

I am the Team Leader and Lead Annotator of the Ibadan Bacteriophage Research Team, an undergraduate research group of the University of Ibadan registered under the SEAPHAGES programme. I have keen interest in bacteriophage isolation and bacteriophage use in combatting Antimicrobial Resistant bacterial strains. I am open to research exchange oppportunities, undergraduate internship opportunities, sequencing, and annotation of bacteriophage genomes.

Profile Image
Associate Professor
University of Ibadan Phage Hunters, University of Ibadan

Bioinformatics, Molecular Biology, Teaching

Phage Hosts

A team of 8 biomedical science researchers at the University of Ibadan, led by Prof. O. G. Ademowo, envisioned new opportunities to foster early career research participation for young undergraduate students. To achieve this goal, the University of Ibadan was enlisted as a cohort institution in the Science Education Alliance-Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science (SEA-PHAGES) project, an early-career research initiative of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Science Education Division, and the Graham Hatfull Research group at the University of Pittsburg.

The successful enlistment of the institution as a member of the Cohort 11 group of the international research project involving more than 190 institutions made University of Ibadan, one of only two institutions on the project in Sub-Saharan Africa. The birth of the Ibadan Bacteriophage Research Team in 2018 was not only a big win for early career researchers, but also opened the frontiers of bacteriophage research at the institution.

The program started with a team of 11 students and forms part of MLS301, an undergraduate course in the Department of Biomedical Laboratory Science. The pioneer team successfully completed the first manual annotation of a bacteriophage genome at the institution. The bacteriophage Idaho (accession number: MK757448) was the team’s first project work, and the research findings were detailed in the team’s abstract submissions at the SEA-PHAGES international symposium, held at Janelia Research Campus near Washington, DC (Oduselu et al., 2019 and Ademowo et al. 2019).

The Ibadan Bacteriophage Research Team was unrelenting in its efforts to proceed into the second year of the project. Undaunted by the inability to isolate an indigenous bacteriophage from the institution in the first year, the team successfully completed manual annotation of bacteriophage Dothraki (accession number: MT451984) while also commencing a phage hunting exercise to discover the team’s first bacteriophage isolate. The team, identifying a huge knowledge gap between undergraduate students and biomedical researchers, in regards to the emerging role of bacteriophage therapy as an alternative antimicrobial option, began a massive advocacy campaign on social media by detailing the progress of the team’s phage hunting exercise. This was also a bid to increase awareness of the emerging global health challenge of antimicrobial resistance and the risk it poses, specifically to the African continent.

Though the team’s phage isolation plans were hindered by the Coronavirus global health pandemic, which brought the laboratory processes to an abrupt halt, the team’s efforts gained steady momentum, as they continued their research efforts through review writing. The team’s first published review paper entitled “An exegesis on bacteriophage therapy: An emerging player in the fight against antimicrobial resistance” detailed interesting perspectives of the current state of knowledge about bacteriophage therapy in Africa. A second review paper (unpublished) entitled “Expanding the frontiers of bacterial diagnosis through bacteriophage biotechnology” was presented at the International Biotechnology Conference, held at Covenant University, Ota, Nigeria. It discusses the possible role of bacteriophage bioengineering through fluorescent technology to ease the burden of cost and precision in bacterial diagnosis.

The efforts of the team did not go unnoticed by the international community as the student phage team leader, Tolulope Oduselu was recently recognized by the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID). He was recognized as one of the 30 distinguished researchers under the age of 30, the youngest and the only undergraduate researcher among the recipients of the award.

The team also recently received commendations from the global phage community for efforts in designing a virtual training programme for their third project year. As part of the virtual training programme, which involved a total of 30 members, two bacteriophage genomes (Phishy and Sedona) requested from HHMI SEA-PHAGES genome exchange site will be annotated before the end of the year. The team, in partnership with Phage Directory, also plans to organize a genomic training workshop for interested undergraduate students, in a bid to encourage students’ early exposure to the emerging role of computational knowledge in biomedical research.

The team has made the best use of the SEA-PHAGES initiative, and its success story is one to set an example for other SEA-PHAGES teams and undergraduate research groups around the world. These successes would not have been achieved without the supervisory role of the Faculty Team at the University of Ibadan, who committed immense efforts to seeing the vision of the SEA-PHAGES project at the University of Ibadan come to fruition.

Keep up with the Ibadan Bacteriophage Research Team!

Twitter: @IbadanPhageTeam


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