Welcome to the website of Kat Holt and her microbial genomics lab, based in the Centre for Systems Genomics at the University of Melbourne.

To see what we get up to in the lab, check out the blog posts on recent papers. Lab members are listed here.


Kat is currently a NHMRC Career Development Fellow and Associate Professor at the University Of Melbourne.

She has a double degree BA/BSc from 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 in the Bio21 Institute. In 2015, Kat helped to found the cross-faculty Centre for Systems Genomics at the University of Melbourne, and the research group was re-located to new space in the Centre.

Kat’s research group is currently funded by several external grants (see current projects) and Kat has recently been awarded a Georgina Sweet Award for Women in Quantitative Biomedical Science (2016), L’Oreal-UNESCO Rising Talents Fellowship (2015), the NHMRC Research Excellence Award for the Top-Ranked Career Development Fellow (2014) and L’Oréal For Women In Science Australia & NZ Fellowship (2013).

A list of Kat’s publications can be found via Google Scholar, and blog posts on recent papers are collated here. Kat is also a Senior Editor of the new journal Microbial Genomics, published by the UK’s Microbiology Society.

Kat (centre) and lab members at AMIGOS in Sydney, April 2015

Kat (centre) and lab members at AMIGOS in Sydney, April 2015

The Lab

We are a computational lab based in the Centre for Systems Genomics at the University of Melbourne, and affiliated with the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the Bio21 Institute. We work closely with collaborators in other research, public health and hospital labs to develop projects and generate data. We then use 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. See research areas and funding for more.

We publish open access wherever we can (and often with preprints available before peer review), deposit all data in public databases and release open source code.

For more, see publications and current and past group members.

Students interested in joining the lab should first read about graduate research programmes at the University of Melbourne and contact Kat to discuss potential projects.