In 2008, when Prof. Graham Hatfull started the implementation of the Science Education Alliance-Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science (SEA-PHAGES) program, nothing could have prepared him for the oak trees that would later grow from those acorns planted in Undergraduate researchers. Who would have thought one of the 208 institutions involved in the innovative program would grow to become one of the agents at the forefront of triggering fascinating conversations about bacteriophages, especially as it connects Africa with the rest of the world?
The Ibadan Bacteriophage Research Team (IBRT) organized the webinar series in 2020 and 2021 to mark World Phage Day (22nd October) and we are about to do it again in 2022 with a consistent touch of diversity on the 28th and 29th of October!
The 2022 World Phage Week Event flyer featuring the event and speaker details. (Credit - IBRT)
Hosted in the largest city in West Africa, the Ibadan Bacteriophage Research Group (IBRT) has distinguished itself as a SEA-PHAGES group with a difference by virtue of its daunting aspirations. We are a purpose-driven undergraduate research community from the University of Ibadan and have come this far with the support and sponsorship from faculty mentorship and notable members of the phage family such as BCM Tailor Labs, SEA-PHAGES, Phase Genomics, the Indian Bacteriophage Research Consortium (IBRC), the African Phage Forum (APF), as well as Phage Directory.
Now if you wish to be a part of this conversation but visiting West Africa is not on your bucket list for the year, you don’t have to worry. The webinar themed “Emerging Prospects in Bacteriophage Use and Clinical Phage Therapy” is exclusively online, so you can join from anywhere you are on this blue planet.
In the 2021 edition of the webinar, prominent speakers were featured that spoke extensively on the status report of the development of phage therapy. Here is a short overview of how it went down:
Recap: IBRT-WPW 2021
Graham Hatfull opened the conversation with the topic “The SEA-PHAGES Design: The Impact of Undergraduate Engagement in Phage Therapy and AMR Advocacy”. This provided a holistic overview of the SEA-PHAGES program and how it connects to the bigger picture of achieving a robust bank of phage data, which will ultimately lead to an improved understanding of the genomic variation of phages.
The second speaker, Prof. Jesca Nakavuma, a senior lecturer from the University of Makerere in Uganda, gave a presentation on: “Emerging AMR Crisis in Africa: The Fate of Bacteriophage Therapy Acceptance,” and hers was also a detailed expose. She took the attendees through the different dimensions of the reality of AMR in Africa and the progress that was being made with phage therapy.
On the second day, we paid host to Prof. Zuzanna Drulis-Kawa, the President-Elect of The International Society of Viruses of Microbes, as she spoke on the topic: “Fostering International Engagement for Bacteriophage Research for Combating AMR.” She updated the audience on the status of phage therapy while highlighting Klebsiella pneumoniae, and she concluded by emphasizing the importance of conferences like VoM, which was later held in Portugal this year. Many Phage enthusiasts that attended can attest to how it held them spellbound.
Dr. Jessica Sacher of Phage Directory rounded it up with a session that was right up her alley: “Science Communication as a Tool for Phage Therapy Visibility and AMR Advocacy.” Since you are reading this here, I will leave it to your imagination to fill in how impactful this electrifying session must have been. It is safe to say the organizers deliberately scheduled the webinar to end.
This year, the lineup of speakers is as amazing as it gets as it features the Think Tank in the Phage family, and we are sure to be treated to conversations that haven’t been held before in the cycle of Phage Phrends all over the world.
IBRT-WPW 2022 Discussion Outline
This year’s webinar will feature discussions on:
- Implementation of Phage Therapy for Critical Infections
- The Role of Early-Career Research Engagement in Phage Research
- Phage Biobanks and how they facilitate phage therapy commercialization, and
- Context on the recent developments in Phage research in Africa.
More info here at our website
The registration link is active now. Register before it closes here! https://bit.ly/IBRT-WPW2022
Follow us on Twitter to join the conversation! @IbadanPhageTeam, #WPW2022, #WorldPhageWeek2022