The lab’s spearhead PhAnToMe project is funded by the National Science Foundation to understand viral life. We are researching the genomics of viruses that infect bacteria — phages — with Dr. Mya Breitbart (Univ. Southern Florida), Dr. Matt Sullivan (U. Arizona), and Dr. Jeff Elhai (Virginia Commonwealth University). These viruses are the most abundant biological entities on the planet, and are responsible for many of the evolutionary changes that bacteria undergo. Phages carry virulence genes that allow bacteria to cause disease, they carry photosynthetic genes that allow bacteria to grow in the oceans, and  they carry many genes that we don’t even know what they do. Our project will unearth the role of some of those genes and proteins, and help biologists get to grips with the most diverse parts of microbiology — the phages. At the PhAnToMe website you can browse complete genomes, and download phage genomes and associated data.