Sarah Cahill

PhD Candidate

Sarah Cahill is a PhD student in the Bacterial Polysaccharide Research Group, under the primary supervision of Dr Johanna Kenyon. She graduated with a Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences from QUT in 2016 and earned a Masters of Philosophy degree in January 2021 for her work characterising the surface polysaccharide variation in the extensively drug resistant ST25 lineage of Acinetobacter baumanii.

Sarah’s expertise is in bioinformatics, genomic epidemiology and glycobiology. Her PhD project aims to define the variation and evolution of surface structures in highly drug resistant lineages of E. coli and A. baumannii. Her research provides insight into the global distribution of these pathogens, and lays the groundwork for therapeutic strategies including vaccine and bacteriophage therapy.

Sarah was awarded an Australian Government Research Training Program Stipend for both her Masters and PhD degrees. She was the 2021 QLD recipient of the Australian Society of Microbiology Nancy Millis Student Award.


Recent Publications

Wyres, K. L., Cahill, S. M., Holt, K. E., Hall, R. M., & Kenyon, J. J. (2020). Identification of Acinetobacter baumannii loci for capsular polysaccharide (KL) and lipooligosaccharide outer core (OCL) synthesis in genome assemblies using curated reference databases compatible with Kaptive. Microbial genomics, 6(3), e000339.


Kasimova, A. A., Cahill, S. M., Shpirt, A. M., Dudnik, A. G., Shneider, M. M., Popova, A. V., Shelenkov, A. A., Mikhailova, Y. V., Chizhov, A. O., Kenyon, J. J., & Knirel, Y. A. (2021). The K139 capsular polysaccharide produced by Acinetobacter baumannii MAR17-1041 belongs to a group of related structures including K14, K37 and K116. International journal of biological macromolecules, 193(Pt B), 2297–2303.


Cahill, S. M., Arbatsky, N. P., Shashkov, A. S., Shneider, M. M., Popova, A. V., Hall, R. M., Kenyon, J. J., & Knirel, Y. A. (2020). Elucidation of the K32 Capsular Polysaccharide Structure and Characterization of the KL32 Gene Cluster of Acinetobacter baumannii LUH5549. Biochemistry. Biokhimiia, 85(2), 241–247.