Dr Sarah Smith | Postdoctoral Fellow

This person is a member of Sanger Institute Alumni.

Smith, Sarah

Sarah is a Post-doctoral fellow in the Virus Genomics group. She investigates host genetic variation in order to understand the biology of virus spread, host species adaption, and zoonosis. Sarah has particular interest in one family of virus restriction factors (VRFs), the Interferon Inducible Transmembrane (IFITM) proteins.

I graduated from the University of York with a BSc in molecular biology, during which I completed a year of research in the Gene Medicine group at the Nuffield Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences (University of Oxford). I have subsequently completed my PhD on The Function and Genetics of the Host IFITM Locus in the Virus Genomics group at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. I am continuing my work on human IFITM3 as a Post-doctoral fellow with the aim of understanding the genetic variation that results in differences in virus restriction.

We primarily use cell culture assays to determine the effect of restriction factors on virus cell entry, using a range of techniques including fluorescence microscopy, flow cytometry and plaque assays. We culture both replication-competent viruses and pseudoviruses to interrogate our cell-based systems.


  • Bat and pig IFN-induced transmembrane protein 3 restrict cell entry by influenza virus and lyssaviruses.

    Benfield CT, Smith SE, Wright E, Wash RS, Ferrara F et al.

    The Journal of general virology 2015;96;Pt 5;991-1005

  • A membrane topology model for human interferon inducible transmembrane protein 1.

    Weston S, Czieso S, White IJ, Smith SE, Kellam P and Marsh M

    PloS one 2014;9;8;e104341

  • IFITM proteins-cellular inhibitors of viral entry.

    Smith S, Weston S, Kellam P and Marsh M

    Current opinion in virology 2014;4;71-7

  • Chicken interferon-inducible transmembrane protein 3 restricts influenza viruses and lyssaviruses in vitro.

    Smith SE, Gibson MS, Wash RS, Ferrara F, Wright E et al.

    Journal of virology 2013;87;23;12957-66

  • The CD225 domain of IFITM3 is required for both IFITM protein association and inhibition of influenza A virus and dengue virus replication.

    John SP, Chin CR, Perreira JM, Feeley EM, Aker AM et al.

    Journal of virology 2013;87;14;7837-52

  • Sherlock Genomes - viral investigator.

    Smith SE and Wash RS

    Nature reviews. Microbiology 2013;11;3;150

  • IFITM3 restricts the morbidity and mortality associated with influenza.

    Everitt AR, Clare S, Pertel T, John SP, Wash RS et al.

    Nature 2012;484;7395;519-23

  • Shuttle vector system for Methanococcus maripaludis with improved transformation efficiency.

    Walters AD, Smith SE and Chong JP

    Applied and environmental microbiology 2011;77;7;2549-51

Career/Research Highlights

Smith, Sarah