Sam is a microbiologist who completed his PhD in the Department of Microbiology at La Trobe University in 2014 focusing on horizontal gene transfer and the regulation of mitochondrial gene expression in protozoa. He then worked as an Associate Lecturer in the same department, supervising honours research projects and lecturing to undergraduate microbiology students in the areas of microbial genetics and infectious diseases. In 2015, Sam joined the Pneumococcal Research Group at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute as a Research Officer. His research involves investigating the biology, genetics and virulence of the bacterial pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae. Sam has attracted over $130,000 in funding and has also received multiple awards in recognition of his work including the Robert Austrian Research Award in Pneumococcal Vaccinology and the Australian Society for Microbiology Jim Pittard Award.