Department: Pathobiology and Population Sciences

Research Groups: Pathogen Flow in Ecosystems, IRLFS (Research Programme)

Research Centres: Veterinary Epidemiology, Economics and Public Health

Sarah is a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow at the RVC. She studies the epidemiology and evolution of zoonotic viruses.

Sarah graduated with a BA in Biological Anthropology (Archaeology and Anthropology Tripos) from the University of Cambridge in 2012. She obtained a DPhil from the University of Oxford, funded by the Wellcome Trust through the Genomic Medicine and Statistics Doctoral Training Centre. Her DPhil was titled ‘Genomic approaches to virus discovery and molecular epidemiology’. The Linnean Society awarded Sarah the 2019 John C Marsden Medal for the best UK doctoral thesis in biology.

After her DPhil, Sarah completed two postdoctoral positions at the University of Oxford with Prof Oliver Pybus and Prof Nuno Faria. She joined the RVC as an independent research fellow in 2020. She currently holds a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (Sept 2020 - Sept 2024). In addition, she is supported by grant funding from BBSRC (2022 - 2024) and Academy of Medical Sciences Springboard award (2021 - 2023). Sarah's team currently includes two postdoctoral researchers, Dr Stephen Vickers and Dr Mingli Zhao, and two PhD students, Mr Lorcan Carnegie and Ms Ciara Judge.

Sarah is a Research Associate of the University of Oxford’s Department of Zoology. Sarah is a member of the BBSRC Pool of Experts (2023 - 2026).


Sarah’s research focuses on investigating the epidemiology and ecology of zoonotic and animal viruses. Zoonotic virus outbreaks are intensifying worldwide because of climate change, land-use change and population growth. We know strikingly little about how most zoonotic viruses transmit amongst non-human reservoir species. Better understanding how viruses spread amongst animals will improve our ability to predict and control outbreaks of zoonotic and animal viruses.

Sarah’s work combines wet-laboratory data generation with phylodynamic analyses of virus genomes. She uses viral genomic sequence data to reconstruct viral outbreak dynamics and spatiotemporal dissemination. Sarah collaborates with colleagues at national veterinary and public health agencies in the UK and abroad, and has helped advise the World Health Organization on virus genomic sequencing and analysis.


* These authors contributed equally to this work


Hill SC*, François S*, Theze J, Smith A, Simmonds P, Perrins C, van der Hoek L, Pybus O. 2022. Impact of host age on viral and bacterial communities in a waterbird population. ISMEJ.

Raghwani J, Faust CL, François S, Nguyen D, Marsh K, Raulo A, Hill SC, Parag KV, Simmonds P, Knowles SCL, Pybus OG. 2022. Seasonal dynamics of the wild rodent faecal virome. Molecular Ecology. 2022;00:1–14.

Brito AF, Semenova E, Dudas G, Hassler GW, Kalinich CC, Kraemer MUG, Ho J, Tegally H, Githinji G, Agoti CN et al. 2022. Global disparities in SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance. Nat Comms. 13: 7003.

Attwood S, Hill SC, Aanensen D, Connor T, Pybus OG. 2022. Phylogenetic and phylodynamic approaches to understanding and combating the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Nat Rev Gen. 23:547–562.

Raghwani J, du Plessis L, McCrone JT, Hill SC, Parag KV, Thézé J, Kumar D, Puvar K, Pandit R, Pybus OG, Fournié G, Joshi M, Joshi C. 2022. Genomic epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 outbreak during its first epidemic wave in Gujarat, India. Emerg Infect Dis. 28(4):751-758.

Neto Z, Martinez PA, Hill SC, Jandondo DJ, Thézé J, Mirandela M, Santana Aguiar R, Xavier J, dos Santos Sebastião C, Micolo Cândido AL, et al. 2022. Molecular and genomic investigation of an urban outbreak of dengue serotype 2 in Angola, 2017-2019. PLoS NTDs. 16(5):e0010255.

Li SI, Acosta AL, Hill SC, Brady OJ, de Almeida MA, da Cruz Cardoso J, Hamlet A, Mucci LF, Alexander NS, Wint GR et al. 2022. Mapping environmental suitability of Haemagogus and Sabethes to understand sylvatic transmission risk of yellow fever virus in Brazil. PLoS NTDs. 16(1):e0010019

Nastri AC, Duarte-Neto AN, Casadio LVB, de Souza WM, Claro IM, Manuli IM, Selegatto G, Salmoão MC, Fialkovitz G, Taborda M et al. 2022. Understanding Sabiá virus infections (Brazilian mammarenavirus). Travel Med Infect Dis. 48:102351.

Oidtman RJ, Omodei E, Kraemer MUG, Castañeda-Orjuela CA, Cruz-Rivera E, Misnaza-Castrillón S, Cifuentes P, Rincon LE,Cañon V, de Alarcon P, et al. 2021. Trade-offs between individual and ensemble forecasts of an emerging infectious disease. Nat Comms. 12:5379.



Benfield CTO, Hill SC, Shatar M, Shiilegdamba E, Damdiniav B, Fine A, Willett B, Kock R, Bataille A. 2021. Molecular Epidemiology of Peste des Petits Ruminants Virus Emergence in Critically Endangered Mongolian Saiga Antelope and Other Wild Ungulates. Virus Evolution, veab062

World Health Organization. 2021. Genomic sequencing of SARS-CoV-2: A guide to implementation for maximum impact on public health. ISBN 978-92-4-001845-7.

World Health Organization. 2021. Interim guidance: SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequencing for public health goals.



World Health Organization. 2020. Interim guidance: Diagnostic testing for SARS-CoV-2.

Hill SC*, de Souza RP*, Thézé J, Claro I, Aguiar RS, Dellicour S, Abade L, Santos FCP, Cunha MS, Nogueira JS et al. 2020. Genomic Surveillance of Yellow Fever Virus Epizootic in São Paulo, Brazil, 2017-2018. PLoS Pathogens. 16(8):e1008699.

Candido DdS, Claro IM, de Jesus JG, Souza WMd, Moreira FRR, Dellicour S, Mellan TA, du Plessis L, Pereira RHM, FCdS Sales et al. 2020. Evolution and epidemic spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Brazil. Science. 369(6508):1255-1260.

Kraemer M, Pigott DM, Hill SC, Vanderslott S, Reiner RC, Stasse S; Brownstein JS, Gutierrez B, Dennig F, Hay SI; Wint WGR, Pybus OG, Vinck P, Pham PN, Nilles EJ, Cauchemez S. 2020. Dynamics of conflict during the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo 2018-2019. BMC Medicine. 18:113.

Xu B, Kraemer MUG, Open COVID-19 Data Curation Group. 2020. Open access epidemiological data from the COVID-19 outbreak. Lancet Infect Dis. Online ahead of print. Available from: doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(20)30119-5

Brunker K, Jaswant G, Thumbi SM, Kennedy L, Lugelo A, Czupryna AM, Ade F, Wambura G, Chuchu V, Steenson R, et al. 2020. Rapid in-country sequencing of whole virus genomes to inform rabies elimination programmes. Wellcome Open Res 2020, 5:3.

Goes de Jesus J, Rocha Dutra K, da Silva Salles FC, Claro IM, Terzian AC, da Silva Candido D, Hill SC, Thézé J, D’Agostini TL, Felix AC, et al. 2020. Genomic detection of a virus lineage replacement event of dengue virus serotype 2 in Brazil, 2019. Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz. 115.

Xu B, Gutierrez B, Mekaru S, Sewalk K, Goodwin L, Loskill A, Cohn EL, Yulin Hswen, Hill SC, Cobo MM et al. 2020. Epidemiological data from the COVID-19 outbreak, real-time case information. Sci Data. 7: 106.

de Jesus JG, Sacchi C, da Silva Candido D, Claro IM, Sales FCS, Manuli ER, da Silva DBB, de Paiva TM, Pinho MAB, de Oliveira Santos KC, et al. 2020. Importation and early local transmission of COVID-19 in Brazil, 2020. Rev Inst Med Trop Sao Paulo. 62:e30.

Cunha MS, Faria NR, Caleiro GS, da Silva Candido D, Hill SC, Morales I, da Costa AC, Noguira JS, Maeda AY, da Silva Vasami FG, et al. 2020. Genomic evidence of yellow fever virus in Aedes scapularis, southeastern Brazil, 2016. Acta Trop. 205: 105390

Everest H, Hill SC, Daines R, Sealy JE, James J, Hansen R, Iqbal M. 2020. The Evolution, Spread and Global Threat of H6Nx Avian Influenza Viruses. Viruses. 12(6):673.

Rezende HR, Romano CM, Claro IM, Caleiro GS, Sabino E, Felix AC, Bissoli J, Hill SC, Faria NR, Cardoso da Silva TR, et al. 2020. First Report of Aedes albopictus Infected by Dengue and Zika Virus in a Rural Outbreak in Brazil. PLOS ONE. 15(3):e0229847.



Hill SC, Vasconcelos J, Neto Z, Jandondo D, Zé-Zé L, Aguiar RS, Xavier J, Thézé J, Mirandela M, Cândido ALM, et al 2019. Emergence of the Zika virus Asian lineage in Angola. Lancet Infect Dis. 10(10):1138-1147.

Hill SC, de Vasconcelos JN, Granja BG, Thézé J, Jandondo D, Neto Z, Mirandela M, Sebastião C dos S, Candido ALM, Clemente C, et al. 2019. Early Genomic Detection of the Cosmopolitan Genotype of Dengue Virus 2 in Angola, 2018. Emerg Infect Dis 25(4):784-787

Hill SC, Hansen R, Watson S, Coward V, Russell C, Cooper J, Essen S, Everest H, Parag KV, Fiddaman S et al. 2019. Comparative micro-epidemiology of pathogenic avian influenza virus outbreaks in a wild bird population. Phil Trans Roy Soc B 374(1775):20180259.

Naveca FG, Claro I, Giovanetti M, Jesus JG de, Xavier J, Iani FC de M, Nascimento VA do, Souza VC de, Silveira PP, Lourenço J, et al. 2019. Genomic, epidemiological and digital surveillance of Chikungunya virus in the Brazilian Amazon. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 13(3):e0007065.



Faria NR*, Kraemer MUG*, Hill SC*, Goes de Jesus J*, Aguiar RS*, Iani FCM*, Xavier J, Quick J, du Plessis L, Dellicour S, et al. 2018. Genomic and epidemiological monitoring of yellow fever virus transmission potential. Science 61(6405): 894-899.



Faria NR*, Quick J*, Claro IM*, Thézé J*, de Jesus JG*, Giovanetti M*, Kraemer MUG*, Hill SC*, Black A*, da Costa AC, et al. 2017. Establishment and cryptic transmission of Zika virus in Brazil and the Americas. Nature 546: 406-410.

Quick J, Grubaugh ND, Pullan ST, Claro IM, Smith AD, Gangavarapu K, Oliveira G, Robles-Sikisaka R, Rogers TF, Beutler NA, et al. 2017. Multiple PCR method for MinION and Illumina sequencing of Zika and other virus genomes directly from clinical samples. Nature Protocols 12: 1261-1276.

Kraemer MUG, Faria NR, Reiner RC, Golding N, Nikolay B, Stasse S, Johansson MA, Salje H, Faye O, Wint GRW, et al. 2017. Spread of yellow fever virus outbreak in Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo 2015-16: a modelling study. Lancet Infect Dis 17(3):330-338.



Hill SC, Manvell RJ, Schulenburg B, Shell W, Wikramaratna PS, Perrins C, Sheldon BC, Brown IH, Pybus OG. 2016. Antibody responses to avian influenza viruses in wild birds broaden with age. Proc Roy Soc B 283(1845): 20162159

The Global Consortium for H5N8 and Related Influenza Viruses. (2016). Role for migratory wild birds in the global spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza A H5N8 (clade viruses in 2014 and 2015. Science 354(6209): 213-217.

Faria NR, Azevedo R do S da S, Kraemer MUG, Souza R, Cunha MS, Hill SC, Thézé J, Bonsall MB, Bowden TA, Rissanen I, et al. 2016. Zika virus in the Americas: Early epidemiological and genetic findings. Science 352(6283): 345-349.



Hill SC, Lee Y-J, Song B-M, Kang H-M, Lee E-K, Hanna A, Gilbert M, Brown IH, Pybus OG. 2015. Wild waterfowl migration and domestic duck density shape the epidemiology of highly pathogenic H5N8 influenza in the Republic of Korea. Infect Genet Evol 34: 267-277.

Hill SC*, Murphy AA*, Cotten M, Palser AL, Benson P, Lesellier S, Gormley E, Richomme C, Grierson S, Bhuachalla DN, et al. 2015. Discovery of a polyomavirus in European badgers (Meles meles) and the evolution of host range in the Polyomaviridae. J Gen Virol 96(6): 1411-1422.



Mallick CB, Iliescu FM, Möls M, Hill SC, Tamang R, Chaubey G, Goto R, Ho SYW, Romero IG, Crivellaro F, et al. 2013. The light skin allele of SLC24A5 in South Asians and Europeans shares identity by descent. PLoS Genet 9(11): e1003912.

Hill SC, Mohammad TR and Kivisild T. 2013. Effect of nomadic subsistence practices and migration on lactase persistence associated genetic variation in Kuwait. Am J Phys Anth 152: 140-144.

Please contact Sarah if you are interesting in applying for funds to work or study with her at the RVC.

  • UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) One Health Poultry Hub

    With integrated streams of social, economic, biological, mathematical and policy-led research, we are co-producing detailed knowledge on the biological, structural and socio-economic factors that shape networks of chicken production and distribution. The RVC-led UKRI GCRF One Health Poultry Hub brings together leading laboratory, clinical, veterinary and social scientists, as well as skilled communications experts, programme support staff and external stakeholders.  

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