Sarah W. Satola, PhD

Assistant Professor


Assistant Professor

Pathology and Laboratory Medicine


Georgia Emerging Infections Program

Phone: 404-321-6111 ext 7322


Research Interests

As the Director, Georgia Emerging Infections Program Laboratory, I oversee all invasive clinical isolates collected, through the Active Bacterial Core surveillance (ABCs). ABCs is an active laboratory- and population-based surveillance system for invasive bacterial pathogens of public health importance. ABCs organisms include invasive Group A Streptococcus, Group B Streptococcus, and Streptococcus pneumoniae in the 20-county Atlanta Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), invasive methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in Health District 3, and invasive Haemophilus influenzae and Neisseria meningitidis statewide.   The laboratory is actively involved in Healthcare Associated Infections-Community Interface (HAIC) projects including: Active population-based surveillance for Clostridium difficile infection and other healthcare associated infections caused by pathogens such as MRSA, Candida, and multi-drug resistant gram-negative bacteria.  Our laboratory has expertise in numerous molecular epidemiologic/genotyping methodologies such as pulse filed gel electrophoresis (PFGE), spa typing and multi-locus sequence typing (MLST).  In addition to the various laboratory methods performed routinely in a clinical microbiology laboratory for detection antibiotic susceptibility detection (Etest, broth microdilution, Kirby Bauer disc diffusion), our laboratory has expertise in more detailed reference screening methods too difficult to be performed in the clinical microbiology laboratory such population analysis profile-area under the curve (PAP-AUC), and growth and fitness assays. I have experience with the FDA guidelines for evaluating the clinical sensitivity and specificity necessary to establish performance characteristics of clinical microbiology diagnostic devices as well as an extensive background in bacterial genetics and pathogenesis and molecular microbiological methods necessary to confirm the genetic basis of the antibiotic resistance phenotypes. Current research includes:

  1. Molecular epidemiology of colonization and invasive MRSA.
  2. Evaluating methods for detection of heteroresistant vancomycin intermediate Staphylococcus aureus (hVISA) and characterization of MRSA infections with reduced levels of vancomycin susceptibility.
  3. Defining the spectrum of genetic variant that cause reduced to non-susceptibility to vancomycin in S. aureus.
  4. Development of a genetic assay for vancomycin intermediate S. aureus (VISA).
  5. Long term impact of and PCV13 vaccine on Pneumococcal colonization in children.
  6. Molecular characteristics community-onset MRSA among children.
  7. Evaluating the clinical performance of a novel screening methodology for antibiotic resistance in real-time in live bacteria.