Kathy Hafer

Kathy Hafer

​Professor of the Practice of Biology

contact info:

mailing address:

  • Washington University
    CB 1137
    One Brookings Drive
    St. Louis, MO 63130-4899

​Kathleen Hafer’s courses include “Principles of Biology” and “Phage Hunters,” a research-based laboratory class for first-year students. Students join a national experiment organized by HHMI, with the goal of isolating and characterizing bacteriophage viruses found in the soil in the St. Louis area.

recent courses

AMPERSAND: Phage Hunters

A research-based laboratory class for freshmen. Students join a national experiment organized by HHMI, with the goal of isolating and characterizing bacteriophage viruses found in the soil in the St. Louis area. Laboratory work includes isolation and purification of your own phage, DNA isolation and restriction mapping, and EM characterization of your phage. Several WU phage are selected for genome sequencing over winter break, and are annotated in the spring in Bio 192, Phage Bioinformatics. Students who successfully isolate and annotate a phage may become co-authors on a scientific paper. Prereqs: High school courses in biology and chemistry, at least one at the AP or International Baccalaureate level; permission of the instructor, and admission to the Phage Hunters FOCUS program. Limited to 40 students. One hour lecture, one hour discussion, and 3 hrs lab per week.

    Collaborative Phage Bioinformatics

    A research-based laboratory for those enrolled in Bio 2960, this class provides an opportunity to join a research team with the goal of genomic characterization of a locally isolated phage (a virus that infects a bacterial host). Similar to Bio 192, but using a condensed format and a larger team to tackle each phage. Lab work focuses on learning computer-based tools for genome analysis, followed by careful annotation of several genes from your phage and in-depth investigation of one gene. Requires concurrent enrollment in Bio 2960 Principles of Biology I; not open to students enrolled in Bio 192. One 2-hr pre-class online review/preparation session, nine 2-hr laboratory sessions, and a final poster presentation. (Lab does not meet in weeks with a scheduled Bio 2960 midterm.) May be taken for a letter grade or Credit/No Credit.

      FOCUS: Phage Bioinformatics

      A research-based laboratory class for freshmen. Students join a national experiment organized by HHMI, with the goal of genomic characterization of a local phage. Laboratory work focuses on learning computer-based tools for genome analysis followed by annotation and comparative analysis of the genome of a phage (bacterial virus) that was isolated fall semester at WU and sequenced over winter break. Prerequisites: High school courses in biology, chemistry, and physics, at least one at the AP or International Baccalaureate level; permission of the instructor. Limited to 40 students; preference given to those completing Bio 191, Phage Hunters. One hour lecture, one hour discussion, and 3 hrs lab per week.