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Explorations in Science and Technology

Hunting Phages and Other Viruses


Tiny viruses called bacteriophages are the most numerous creatures on Earth (an estimated 10 quadrillion quadrillion inhabit the planet) and are the focus of several groundbreaking research projects at Pitt.

Professor Roger Hendrix studies phages, as they’re nicknamed, to better understand diseases like botulism, diphtheria, and cholera. 

A recipient of three Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professorships, Graham Hatfull uses phages to study tuberculosis, which kills more than 3 million people annually. 

Professor Jim Pipas looks for the genetic origins of dangerous viruses by sampling water from places as diverse as Barcelona sewers and Philippine bat caves.