Sarah L. Poynton, PhD

Associate Professor


Miller Research Building, Suite 855



B.Sc. (Hons) University of Southampton, England 1980
Ph.D. University of Southampton, England 1985
Fellowship in Aquatic Parasitology Department of Fisheries and Oceans, NS, Canada 1988
Fellowship in Veterinary Parasitology Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington DC 1994


Dr. Sarah Poynton has broad expertise in animal parasitology, with a research focus on: (i) pathogenic parasites of aquatic animals, particularly those in captivity (ranging from aquaculture to aquaria), and (ii) the diplomonad flagellates, Spironucleus and Giardia, significant pathogens of animals and humans. Her work on characterization of metazoan parasites in tissue sections is embodied in the standard reference book, Gardiner and Poynton “An Atlas of Metazoan Parasites in Animal Tissues”, and her work on parasite morphology and ultrastructure has resulted in the description of one new genus and multiple new species of protists infecting cephalopods, fish and cetaceans.

As the recipient of Visiting Professorships from the National Science Foundation (USA) and the German Research Foundation, Dr. Poynton has pursued research nationally and internationally, particularly in Berlin, Germany, and Oslo, Norway. Dr. Poynton has established collaborations with many institutions, including the National Aquarium in Baltimore, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO (UN)). For the latter, Dr. Poynton has served as a consultant, and an invited participant in the Expert Workshop on “Global Review on Status and Trends in Aquaculture”, and “Prospective Analysis of Future Aquaculture Development”.

Within the Department of Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology, Dr. Poynton provides training and diagnostic support in parasitology.

Her secondary expertise in writing is evident in the courses she teaches in scientific and biomedical writing, including for the Department of Art as Applied to Medicine, Doctoral Diversity Program, Graduate Training Program in Clinical Investigation, Office of Faculty Development, and the Professional Development and Careers Office. Dr. Poynton has also initiated and taught new courses in scientific writing in Germany, the Philippines, and China.

Dr. Poynton currently serves as the Branch Officer for the USA for the European Association of Fish Pathologists.