Zika Researcher to Speak at Northwestern College Symposium

A University of Nebraska–Lincoln professor working on a vaccine for the Zika virus will discuss his research during a scientific symposium at Northwestern College.

Dr. Eric Weaver, an assistant professor of biological sciences, will give the keynote address during the Midwest Regional SEA-PHAGES Symposium April 5 and 6. Weaver’s talk is scheduled for Friday, April 5, at 7:30 p.m. in room 207 of Northwestern’s DeWitt Family Science Center. The public is invited to attend his lecture free of charge, as well as student/faculty presentations that begin at 4 p.m. Friday afternoon.

Students and professors from Northwestern, the University of Nebraska, Kansas State University, Nebraska Wesleyan University and the University of Mary will participate in the symposium. All five institutions are members of the international SEA-PHAGES program, which is designed to give undergraduate students opportunities to conduct scientific research. The program is part of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science Education Alliance and involves the study of phages, which are viruses that infect bacteria. Students from participating schools isolate the viruses and then annotate their DNA. Northwestern was one of just 20 colleges and universities across the nation chosen to join the program in 2016.

Friday’s symposium schedule consists of the 4 p.m. poster sessions, a dinner at 6:15 p.m., Weaver’s address at 7:30, and a social time at 9 p.m. On Saturday, symposium participants will participate in a “hackathon,” working to annotate the entire genome of a virus in a single day.

This is the first time Northwestern is hosting the Midwest Regional SEA-PHAGES Symposium. The symposium is funded through grants from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the American Society for Microbiology.