A/PROF Kathryn Holt

A/PROF Kathryn Holt


  • Antimicrobial resistance in bacteria (evolution and transmission of multidrug resistance, especially in hospital pathogens and foodborne pathogens)
  • Bacterial colonization and the development of asthma (next generation sequencing to study bacterial populations in infant airways and the association with etiology of asthma)
  • Bioinformatics, genomics, computational biology
  • Genomic epidemiology and public health, including infectious disease transmission and surveillance (hospital infection, foodborne disease)
  • Pathogen evolution (bacterial pathogens, especially Salmonella, Typhi, Shigella, Klebsiella, Acinetobacter)
  • Pathogen genomics, evolution and phylogenetics (next generation sequencing of bacteria)



  • Kathryn (Kat) has a double degree BA/BSc at the University of Western Australia, majoring in Biochemistry, Applied Statistics and Philosophy, with Honours in Genetics (focusing on plant gene expression). After a short stint in the Bioinformatics Division at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Kat went to the University of Cambridge to undertake a PhD in Molecular Biology at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. There she studied the genomics of typhoid fever, under the supervision of Gordon Dougan, Julian Parkhill and Duncan Maskell. In 2010 Kat returned to Australia to take up an NHMRC Early Career Fellowship in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Melbourne. While working as a research fellow, she also undertook a Masters in Epidemiology at the University of Melbourne, graduating in 2011. In late 2012, Kat was recruited to a lab head position in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Melbourne, and established a lab at the Bio21 Institute. The research group is currently funded by several external grants and Kat has recently been awarded a L’Oréal For Women In Science Australia & NZ Fellowship (2013), the NHMRC Research Excellence Award for the Top-Ranked Career Development Fellow (2014) and a L’Oreal-UNESCO Rising Talents Fellowship (2015). Kat is a Senior Editor of the new journal Microbial Genomics, published by the UK Society for General Microbiology. Kat runs a computational lab based in the new Centre for Systems Genomics at the University of Melbourne. The research group works closely with collaborators in other research, public health and hospital labs to develop projects and generate data, and uses a combination of phylogenetics, sequence analysis, comparative genomics, spatiotemporal analysis and epidemiological methods to analyse and interpret the data. Much of this is done using high performance computing.   


Member of

  • Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Member 2013 -
  • Australian Epidemiological Association. Member 2012 -
  • Australian Society for Antimicrobials. Member 2011 -
  • Australian Society for Microbiology. Associate Membership 2010 -


Selected publications


Investigator on


Education and training

  • MEpi, University of Melbourne 2011
  • PhD, University of Cambridge 2009
  • BSc (Hons), The University of Western Australia 2004
  • BA, The University of Western Australia 2003

Awards and honors

  • L'Oral-UNESCO, 2015
  • NHMRC Research Excellence Award (Top-Ranked Career Development Fellow), 2014
  • L'Oral Australia & NZ, 2013



Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • Student projects in bioinformatics, bacterial genomics and/or phylogenetics are available.

    Co-supervision with the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Department of Computing and Information Systems, VLSCI and other departments is encouraged.