Sara Knott

  • Institute of Evolutionary Biology
  • School of Biological Sciences

Contact details



Rm. 135, Ashworth Laboratories
Charlotte Auerbach Road

Post code


1986 - 1990    Ph.D., University of Edinburgh (at the AFRC Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics Research)

1990 - 1996    Postdoctoral researcher, University of Edinburgh

1996 - 2006    Royal Society University Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh

2005 - 2010    RCUK Fellow, University of Edinburgh

2007 - present    Reader, Institute of Evolutionary Biology, University of Edinburgh

Undergraduate teaching

Course organiser for Genomes and Genomics (third year)

Postgraduate teaching

Programme Director for MSc Animal Breeding and Genetics and on the teaching committee for the MSc Quantitative Genetics suite of programmes.

Course organiser for Linkage and Association in Genome Analysis


Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Current PhD students supervised

Caelinn James  Investigating the genetic architecture of complex traits in Soay sheep (Principal supervisor)

Eilidh Fummey  Exploiting large-scale exome sequence data to determine the genetic control of healthy aging (Assistant supervisor)

Michael Barker  Investigating the mechanisms underlying disease using multiOmics data( Assistant supervisor)

Silvia Shen  Harnessing genome characterisation to uncover disease mechanisms (Principal supervisor)

Past PhD students supervised

Francesc Ganau Penella (2019-2020) Detecting local positive selection in human phenotypes: the adaptive nature of disease (MScR) (Principal supervisor)

Richard Oppong (2015-2019)  Investigating the genetic control of complex traits (Principal supervisor)

Olivia Swann (2012-2018) The Role of the Swain-Langley and McCoy Polymorphisms in Complement Receptor 1 in Cerebal Malaria (Assistant supervisor)

Neil Clelland (2011-2015) Use of computed tomography based predictors of meat quality in sheep breeding programmes (Assistant supervisor)

Claire Donaldson (2010-2015)  Spine characteristics in sheep: metrology, relationship to meat yield and their genetic parameters (Principal supervisor)

Gibran Hemani (2007-2011) Dissecting genetic interactions in complex traits (Assistant supervisor)

Richard Leach (2007-2011) Genetics of bovine vaccination (Assistant supervisor)

Baitsi Podisi (2007-2011) Quantitative trait locus mapping of sexual maturity traits applied to chicken breeding (Assistant supervisor)

Ariel Lui (2007-2011) The impact of selection on the diversity of background genome (Assistant supervisor)

Christopher Franklin (2006-2010) Linkage and Association Mapping for Quantitative Phenotype in Isolated Populations (Assistant supervisor)

James Floyd (2006-2010) Analysis of high-density SNP data from complex populations (Assistant supervisor)

Joseph Powell (2006-2009) Influence of genomic architecture on the performance of association mapping: application to ascites syndrome in broiler chickens (Assistant supervisor)

Georgia Hadjipavlou (2006-2009) Detection and characterisation of quantitative trait loci affecting muscle and growth phenotypes in sheep (Assistant supervisor)

Claudia Cabrera (2005-2009) Bioinformatics tools for the genetic dissection of complex traits in chickens (Assistant supervisor)

Suzanne Rowe (2004-2009) QTL mapping technology using variance components in general pedigrees applied to the poultry industry (Assistant supervisor)

Craig Lewis (2006-2008) (Assistant supervisor)

Alex Lam (2005-2008) Design and analysis of genetical genomics studies and their potential applications in livestock research (Assistant supervisor)

Albert Tenesa (2000-2004) Populatio -wide linkage disequilibrium and its uses in QTL mapping and estimation of ancestral population size (Assistant supervisor)

Stuart Macgregor (2000-2003) Genetic linkage mapping in complex pedigrees (Assistant supervisor)

Victor Martinez (1999-2002) Quantitative genetic analysis using molecular markers with applications to fish populations (Principal supervisor)


Research summary

I'm interested in understanding the genetic control of complex traits that underpin variation of medical, evolutionary and commercial relevance. Almost all traits of importance are complex and influenced by the actions and interactions of many genes and environmental factors. With dense SNP genotypes or sequence data we can dissect this variation and investigate how individual genes act and interact with each other and the environment.