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Our people-our expertise: Dr Amy Jennison

Our people-our expertise


Dr Amy Jennison

Qualifications | Research interests | Publications | Presentations | Grants and funding | Memberships

Amy Jennison completed her PhD on bacterial virulence and vaccine development at The Australian National University and has worked as a Molecular Epidemiologist in the Forensic and Scientific Services Public Health Microbiology laboratory of Queensland Health since 2006.  She leads a team in the molecular detection, characterisation and typing of microbes, particularly notifiable pathogens.

The laboratory performs a range of public health work from diagnostics and molecular epidemiological surveillance through to outbreak investigations and research projects.

Amy has special interests in characterising emerging pathogens and in harnessing molecular advances for expanding efficiencies and capabilities in Public Health Microbiology. She also lectures at two Queensland Universities and supervises research students.


  • PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (Microbiology), Australian National University, Canberra. PhD Thesis: 'Proteomic, vaccine and functional studies of Shigella flexneri 2457T'
  • Bachelor of Science (First Class Honours), Australian National University, Canberra. Honours thesis: 'O-antigen modification in Shigella flexneri virulence and vaccine development against shigellosis'
  • Diploma of Management, Metropolitan South Institute of TAFE, Qld.

Research interests and expertise

  • Emerging bacterial pathogens
  • Molecular epidemiological typing of bacterial pathogens
  • Whole genome sequencing and its applications to Public Health Microbiology



Guglielmino CJ, Appleton S, Vohra R, Jennison AV, (2019) Identification of an unusual 16S rRNA mutation in Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Journal of Clinical Microbiology . JCM.01337-19.

Bialasiewicz S, Duarte TPS, Nguyen SH, Sukumaran V, Stewart A, Appleton S, Pitt ME, Bainomugisa A, Jennison AV, Graham RMA, Coin LJM, Hajkowicz K, (2019) Rapid diagnosis of Capnocytophaga canimorsus septic shock in an immunocompetent individual using real-time Nanopore sequencing: a case report. BMC Infectious Diseases, 19 (660).

Chapman P, Forde B, Roberts L, Bergh H, Vesey D, Jennison AV, Moss S, Paterson DL, Beatson S, Harris P (2019) Genomic investigation reveals contaminated detergent as the source of an ESBL-producing Klebsiella michiganensis outbreak in a neonatal unit. bioRxi

Harch SAJ, Jennison AV, Bastian I (2019) Yersinia pseudotuberculosis bacteraemia: a diagnostic dilemma in the era of MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry. Pathology

Hiley LA, Graham RMA, Jennison AV (2019) Genetic characterisation of variants of the virulence plasmid, pSLT, in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium provides evidence of a variety of evolutionary directions consistent with vertical rather than horizontal transmission. PLoS One . ISSN 1932-6203

Huang B, Jennison AV, Whiley DM, McMahon J, Hewitson GR, Graham RMA, De Jong AJ, Warrilow D. (2019) Illumina sequencing of clinical samples for virus detection in a public health laboratory. Scientific Reports, 9 (5409).

Ingle DJ, Goncalves da Silva A, Valcanis M, Ballard SA, Seemann T, Jennison AV, Bastian I, Wise R, Kirk M, Howden BP, Williamson DA (2019) Emergence and divergence of major lineages of Shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia coli in Australia. Microbial Genomics. 5(5). DOI:10.1099/mgen.0.000268

Jennison AV, Whiley DM, Lahra MM, Graham RMA, Cole MJ, Hughes G, Fifer H, Andersson M, Edwards A, Eyre D. (2019) Genetic relatedness of ceftriaxone-resistant and high-level azithromycin resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae cases, United Kingdom and Australia, February to April 2018. Eurosurveillance, 24 (8).

Phillips ZN, Brizuela C, Jennison AV, Staples M, Grimwood K, Seib KL, Jennings MP, Atack JM (2019) Analysis of invasive non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae isolates reveals a selection for the expression state of particular phase-variable lipooligosaccharide biosynthetic genes. Infection and immunity .

Thangarajah D, Guglielmino CJD, Lambert SB, Khandaker G, Vasant BR, Malo JA, Smith HV, Jennison AV (2019) Genomic characterization of recent and historic meningococcal serogroup E invasive disease in Australia: a case series. Clinical Infectious Diseases

Vasant BR, Jarvinen K, Fang N-X, Smith HV, Jennison AV (2019) Mass prophylaxis in an outbreak of invasive group A streptococcal disease in a residential aged care facility. Communicable Diseases Intelligence, 43


Graham RMA, Hiley Lester A, Rathnayake IU, Jennison AV (2018) Comparative genomics identifies distinct lineages of S. Enteritidis from Queensland, Australia. PLoS One, 13 (1). e0191042. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0191042

Lahra MM, Martin I, Demczuk W, Jennison AV, Lee K-I, Nakayama S-I, Lefebvre B, Longtin J, Ward A, Mulvey MR, Wi T,Ohnishi M, Whiley DM. (2018) Cooperative recognition of internationally disseminated ceftriaxone-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae strain. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 24 (4). ISSN 1080-6059

Malau E, Ford R, Valcanis M, Jennison AV, Mosse J, Bean D, Yoannes M, Pomat W, Horwood PF (2018) Antimicrobial sensitivity trends and virulence genes in Shigella spp. from the Oceania region. Infection, Genetics and Evolution, 64 . pp. 52-56.

McCarthy KL, Wailan, AM, Jennison AV, Kidd T, Paterson DL. (2018) P. aeruginosa blood stream infection isolates: A “full house” of virulence genes in isolates associated with rapid patient death and patient survival. Microbial Pathogenesis, June 2018, 119:81-85

Pintara AP, Guglielmino CJ, Rathnayake IU, Huygens F, Jennison AV (2018) Molecular prediction of the O157:H- phenotype prevalent in Australian STEC cases improves the concordance of in silico serotyping with phenotypic motility. Journal of Clinical Microbiology

Whiley DM, Jennison AV, Pearson J, Lahra MM (2018) Genetic characterisation of Neisseria gonorrhoeae resistant to both ceftriaxone and azithromycin. The Lancet. Infectious diseases, 18 (7). pp. 717-718

Whiley DM, Kundu R, Jennison AV, Buckley C, Limnios A, Hogan T, Enriquez R, El Nasser J, George CR, Lahra MM (2018) Azithromycin-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae spreading amongst men who have sex with men (MSM) and heterosexuals in New South Wales, Australia, 2017. The Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.

Whiley DM, Mhango LP, Jennison AV, Nimmo G, Lahra MM. (2018) Direct detection of penA gene associated with ceftriaone-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae FC428 strain by using PCR. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 24 (8). ISSN 1080-6059


Jennison AV (2017) Impact of whole genome sequencing in Public Health reference laboratories. Microbiol Aust. 38(4): 168-171. doi: 10.1071/MA17060

Smith HV, Jennison AV (2017) Changing epidemiology of invasive meningococcal disease in Australia 1994–2016. Microbiol Aust. 38(4): 184-186. doi: 10.1071/MA17064

Graham RMA, Donohue S, McMahon J, Jennison AV (2017) Detection of spotted fever group Rickettsia DNA by deep sequencing. Emerg Infect Dis. 23(11): 1911-1913. doi: 10.3201/eid2311.170474

Vasant BR, Stafford RJ, Jennison AV, Bennett SM, Bell RJ, Doyle CJ, Young JR, Vlack SA, Titmus P, El Saadi D, Jarvinen KAJ, Coward P, Barrett J, Staples M, Graham RMA, Smith Helen V, Lambert SB (2017) Mild illness during outbreak of Shiga toxin−producing Escherichia coli O157 infections associated with agricultural show, Australia. Emerg Infect Dis. 23(10): 1686-1689. doi: 10.3201/eid2310.161836

Allcock RJN, Jennison AV, Warrilow D (2017) Towards a universal molecular microbiological test. J Clin Microbiol. 55(11):3175-3182. doi: 10.1128/JCM.01155-17

McCarthy KL, Jennison AV, Wailan AM, Paterson DL (2017) Draft genome sequences of two Pseudomonas aeruginosa bloodstream infection isolates associated with rapid patient death. Genome Announc. 5 (33): e00597-17. doi: 10.1128/genomeA.00597-17

Shaban RZ, Maloney S, Gerrard J, Collignon P, Macbeth D, Cruickshank M, Hume A, Jennison AV, Graham RMA, Bergh H, Wilson H, Derrington P (2017) Outbreak of health care-associated Burkholderia cenocepacia bacteremia and infection attributed to contaminated sterile gel used for central line insertion under ultrasound guidance and other procedures. Am J Infect Control. Jul 27. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2017.06.025

Gallo GG, Woods M, Graham RMA, Jennison AV (2017) A severe transmissible Majocchi's granuloma in an immunocompetent returned traveler. Med Mycol Case Rep. 18: 5-7. doi: 10.1016/j.mmcr.2017.07.003

Staples M, Graham RMA, Jennison AV (2017) Characterisation of invasive clinical Haemophilus influenzae isolates in Queensland, Australia using whole-genome sequencing. Epidemiol Infect. 145 (8): 1727-1736. doi: 10.1017/S0950268817000450

Abady NR, Guglielmino CJ, Graham RMA, Adelskov J, Smith HV, Patel BKC, Jennison AV (2017) Genetic characterization of a Neisseria meningitidis cluster in Queensland, Australia. Can J Microbiol. 63(7): 644-647. doi: 10.1139/cjm-2017-0017

Jennison AV, Masson JJ, Fang NX, Graham RMA, Bradbury MI, Fegan N, Gobius KS, Graham TM, Guglielmino CJ, Brown JL, Fox EM (2017) Analysis of the Listeria monocytogenes population structure among isolates from 1931 to 2015 in Australia. Front. Microbiol. 8: 603. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.00603

Staples M, Graham RMA, Hicks V, Strachan J, Gonçalves da Silva A, Peverall J, Wicks V, Jennison AV (2017) Discovery of Streptococcus pneumoniae serogroup 35 variants in Australian patients. Clin Microbiol Infect. pii: S1198-743X(16)30662-0. doi: 10.1016/j.cmi.2016.12.029

McCarthy KL, Jennison AV, Wailan AM, Paterson DL (2017) Draft genome sequence of an IMP-7-producing Pseudomonas aeruginosa bloodstream infection isolate from Australia. Genome Announc. 5 (27): e00596-17. doi: 10.1128/genomeA.00596-17

Staples M, Fang N-X, Graham RMA., Smith HV, Jennison AV (2017) Evaluation of the SHIGA TOXIN QUIK CHEK and ImmunoCard STAT! EHEC as screening tools for the detection of Shiga toxin in faecal specimens. Diagn Micro Infect Dis. 87(2): 95-99. doi: 10.1016/j.diagmicrobio.2016.03.011

Graham RMA, Doyle CJ, Jennison AV (2017) Epidemiological typing of Neisseria gonorrhoeae and detection of markers associated with antimicrobial resistance directly from urine samples using next generation sequencingSex Transm Infect. 93(1):65-67. doi: 10.1136/sextrans-2015-052422

Doyle CJ, Mazins A, Graham RMA, Fang N-X, Smith HV, Jennison AV (2017) Sequence analysis of toxin gene-bearing Corynebacterium diphtheriae strains, Australia. Emerg Infect Dis. 23(1):105-107. doi: 10.3201/eid2301.160584


Trembizki E, Doyle C, Buckley C, Jennison AV, Smith H, Bates J, Sloots T, Nissen M, Lahra MM, Whiley D (2015) Estimating the prevalence of mixed-type gonococcal infections in Queensland, Australia. Sex Health. 12(5):439-44. doi: 10.1071/SH15009

Lajhar SA, Jennison AV, Patel B, Duffy LL (2015) Comparison of epidemiologically linked Campylobacter jejuni isolated from human and poultry sources. Epidemiol Infect. 143(16): 3498-509. doi: 10.1017/S0950268815000886

Mellor GE, Fegan N, Gobius, KS, Smith HV, Jennison AV, D'Astek BA, Rivas M, Shringi S, Baker KN, Besser TE (2015) Geographically distinct Escherichia coli O157 isolates differ by lineage, Shiga toxin genotype, and total shiga toxin production. J Clin Microbiol. 53(2):579-86. doi: 10.1128/JCM.01532-14

Staples M, Graham, RM, Jennison AV, Ariotti L, Cook H, Krause V, Giele C, Smith HV (2015) Molecular characterization of an Australian serotype 1 Streptococcus pneumoniae outbreak. Epidemiol Infect. 143(2): 325-333. doi: 10.1017/S0950268814000648

Trembizki E, Doyle C, Jennison A, Smith H, Bates J, Lahra M, Whiley D, GRAND study investigators. (2014) A Neisseria gonorrhoeae strain with a meningococcal mtrR sequence. J Med Microbiol. 63(Pt 8): 1113-5. doi: 10.1099/jmm.0.074286-0

Graham RM, Doyle CJ, Jennison AV (2014) Real-time investigation of Legionella pneumophila outbreak using whole genome sequencing. Epidemiol Infect. 142(11): 2347-51. doi: 10.1017/S0950268814000375

Mellor G, Fegan N, Gobius K, Smith H, Jennison AV, D'Astek B, Rivas M, Shringi S, Baker K, Besser T (2014) Geographically distinct Escherichia coli O157 differ by lineage, Shiga toxin genotype and total Shiga toxin production. J Clin Microbiol. 53(2):579-86. doi: 10.1128/JCM.01532-14

Trembizki E, Doyle C, Jennison A, Smith H, Bates J, Lahra M, Whiley D (2014) A Neisseria gonorrhoeae isolate with a meningococcal mtrR sequence. J Med Microbiol. 63(Pt 8):1113-5. doi: 10.1099/jmm.0.074286-0

Staples M, Jennison AV, Ariotti L, Hicks V, Graham RM, Smith HV (2014) Prevalence and molecular characterisation of Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 6C in Queensland, Australia. Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 78(3):307-12. doi: 10.1016/j.diagmicrobio.2013.11.017

More publications at Amy's Google Scholar page


  • June 2018: Invited speaker 'Whole genome sequencing for disease tracking', Hort Connetions, 20 June 2018, Brisbane Qld.
  • Mar 2018: Invited speaker ‘Applications - deep sequencing for detection of pathogens in culture/PCR negative infections’, RCPA Pathology Update, 4 March 2018, Sydney NSW.
  • Feb 2018: Invited speaker ‘Metagenomics in the clinical microbiology laboratory’, Australian Society of Antimicrobials Annual Scientific Meeting, 22-24 February 2018, Brisbane Qld.
  • Nov 2017: Invited speaker, 'Whole genome sequencing in Queensland', NSW Health Communicable Diseases Workshop, 14 November, 2017, Sydney, NSW.
  • Nov 2017: Invited speaker, 'Whole genome sequencing of bacteria: how it is routinely used in Public Health/hospital settings, and applications in the study of Gonorrhoea and associated antimicrobial resistance', Australasian Sexual Health Conference, 7-9 November 2017, Canberra, ACT.
  • Nov 2017: 'Genomics in Public Health microbiology', Practical Microbial Genomics Workshop, 4th November 2017, Herston, Qld.
  • Oct 2017: Invited speaker, 'Genomics guided pathogen detection and surveillance', Microbial Genomics for Public Health and Clinical Microbiology Symposium, 20 October 2017, Sydney, NSW.
  • Sep 2017: Invited speaker, 'Whole genome sequencing for solving microbial outbreaks and disease surveillance', Illumina Ignite Event, 19 September 2017, Toowoomba, Qld.
  • Sep 2017: 'Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) provides genomic insight into diphtheria in Queensland' [poster], with Rathnayake IU, Doyle CJ, Graham RMA, Fang NX, Smith HV, 26th Annual RBWH Healthcare Symposium, 12–14 September 2017, Herston, Qld.
  • Jun 2017: 'Practical applications of whole genome sequencing in a Public Health Laboratory', CREID Workshop, Communicable Diseases Conference, 26 June 2017, Melbourne, Vic.
  • Jun 2017: Invited speaker, 'Deep sequencing of clinical extracts for pathogen discovery and molecular epidemiological surveillance', Communicable Diseases Control Conference 2017: infectious diseases: a global challenge, 26-28 June 2017, Melbourne, Vic.
  • May 2017: 'Deep sequencing of clinical extracts for pathogen discovery and molecular epidemiological surveillance' [poster], with Graham RMA, 6th Applied Bioinformatics and Public Health Microbiology conference, 17-19 May 2017, Cambridge, UK.
  • Nov 2016: 'Jumping in the deep end: direct deep sequencing of clinical samples in the Public Health Microbiology laboratory', Microbiology on the Mountain, ASM Qld Branch, 19 November 2016, Mount Tamborine, Qld.
  • Nov 2016: 'The detection of N. gonorrhoeae directly from urine samples using NGS', Advances in Microbial Genomics for Public Health and Clinical Microbiology Symposium, 15 November 2016, Melbourne, Vic.
  • Sep 2016: 'Use of the meningococcal antigen typing system to assess the Australian meningococcal strain coverage with a multicomponent serogroup B vaccine', with Tozer SJ, Whiley DM, Smith HV, Rockett R, Doyle CJ, Graham RMA, Gilchrist S, Orlandi L, Frosi G, Boccadifuoco G, Medini D, Serruto D, Borrow R, Findlow J, Pizza M, Nissen MD, Sloots TP, 20th International Pathogenic Neisseria Conference, 4-9 September, 2016, Manchester, United Kingdom. Item availablity restricted.
  • Mar 2016: 'Whole genome sequencing in clinical and public health microbiology' MEDLAB Asia Pacific Molecular Diagnostics Conference, 23 March 2016, Singapore.
  • Mar 2016: 'Genotyping of Group A Streptococcus by whole genome sequencing' [Poster], 5th Annual Molecular Microbiology Meeting, 2-3 March 2016, Sydney, NSW.
  • Jan 2016: 'Harnessing the power: outbreak investigations and surveillance of bacterial disease in the genomics era', Princess Alexandra Hospital continuing education session, 14 January 2016, Woolloongabba, Qld.
  • Oct 2015: 'Harnessing the power: outbreak investigations and surveillance of bacterial disease in the genomics era', Pathology Queensland Grand Rounds, 2 October 2015.
  • Jul 2015: Invited speaker, Embracing the genomic revolution - applied genomics in public health microbiology Symposium, Doherty Centre for Applied Microbial Genomics, 20 July 2015, Melbourne, Vic.
  • Jul 2015: 'Challenges and opportunities: whole genome sequencing in public health microbiology', Australian Society for Microbiology Annual Scientific Meeting, 12-15 July 2015, Canberra ACT.
  • Mar 2015: 'Ensuring capabilities for bioterrorism testing, concerning pathogens and G20: the Queensland perspective'  Microbial Forensics: Needs and Opportunities workshop, 19-20 March 2015, Melbourne, Vic.
  • Oct 2014: 'Adding value of genome sequencing in diagnostic and public health microbiology', Keynote speaker, Centre for Infectious Diseases and Microbiology Public Health Symposium, 10 October 2014, Sydney, NSW.
  • Jul 2014: 'The largest E. coli O157 outbreak in Australia', invited speaker, Zoonoses 2014, 25-26 July, 2014, Brisbane, Qld.
  • May 2014: 'Using whole genome sequencing in a public health microbiology laboratory: outbreaks, routine surveillance and just about everything in between', invited speaker, Genetics Solutions World Tour, Australia Life Technologies, Thermo Fischer, 19-20 May 2014, Brisbane, Qld.
  • Jun 2013: 'Shigatoxigenic E. coli in Queensland', invited speaker, Capricornia Medical Science Conference', Yeppoon, 7-9 June, 2013, Yeppoon, Qld.

Grants and funding

  • Chief Investigator, Queensland Health Cabinet Research Fund Grant, 2017-2019, $102,000, ‘Use of molecular typing and genomics to enhance surveillance of Neisseria gonorrhoeae and associated antimicrobial resistance in Queensland’.
  • Chief Investigator, Demonstration Project Grant, Round 1, Queensland Genomics Health Alliance, 2017-2019, $600,000, ‘Whole genome sequencing to track, treat and prevent nosocomial infections’.
  • Associate Investigator, NHMRC Partnership Project, 2016-2019, $546,720, ‘Understanding the sources of Campylobacter in Australia’.
  • Chief Investigator, Queensland Health Cabinet Research Fund Grant, $130,000, 2015-2016, ‘Improving Public Health Microbiology outbreak investigations and ensuring molecular epidemiological typing capabilities in the era of culture independent testing'.
  • Chief Investigator, Queensland Health Cabinet Research Fund Grant, $129,649, 2014-2015, ‘Future proofing Public Health Microbiology: developing a Next Generation Sequencing workflow for the rapid and efficient epidemiological typing of microorganisms of public health significance’.
  • Chief Investigator, QHFSS R&D Fund Grant, $27,000, 2012-2013, ‘Epidemiological investigation of a Legionella pneumophilia outbreak in an Australian hospital’.
  • Research Supervisor, QHFSS R&D Fund Grant, $3,500, 2012-2013 ‘Development of a molecular serotyping method for Streptococcus pneumoniae’, Collaborative project with Mater Hospital Microbiology Department.
  • Chief Investigator, QHFSS R&D Fund Grant, $11,000, 2012-2013, F. tularensis in Queensland possum populations: a public health risk?’ Collaborative project with University of Queensland School of Veterinary Science.
  • Chief Investigator, QHFSS R&D Fund Grant, $6,000 grant, 2011-2013, ‘Molecular epidemiological study of Queensland V. cholerae isolates’.


Amy Jennison

Dr Amy V. Jennison
Supervising Scientist, Molecular Epidemiology
Public and Environmental Health

phone: +61 7 3096 2826