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Dr Jenny Robson


Managerial responsibilities

Pathologist-in-Charge of the Department of Microbiology (including responsibility for the serology component of Immunoserology and infectious diseases component of Molecular Pathology). Member of the SNP Executive Advisory Committee. Member of the SNP Safety Committee.



Special interests

Travel and tropical medicine, immunisation, zoonoses, public health, antibiotic resistance, infection control and molecular diagnosis of infectious diseases


Bowen Hills QLD


Dr Jenny Robson is Pathologist-in-Charge of Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology's Department of Microbiology and Molecular Pathology. Passionate about her chosen field, she has been a driving force behind a succession of scientific and technological innovations that have established the practice's reputation as a national microbiology reference laboratory.

A Queenslander with a longstanding enthusiasm for natural science going back to childhood, Dr Robson considers herself fortunate to practice in a region "where there are so many tropical and zoonotic infections". She graduated in Medicine with First Class Honours from The University of Queensland. After a stint in Cairns, she did basic physician training at Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital and Woden Valley Hospital in Canberra. This was followed by advanced infectious diseases and microbiology training at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, where she worked with one of the specialty's Australian founding fathers, Dr Richard Benn. She moved to a registrar position at Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital under leading infectious diseases expert, Dr Richard Kemp OA. This was the AIDS era and HIV-infected patients were being treated for difficult opportunistic infections.

In 1987, Dr Robson accepted an invitation to join SNP, initially working part-time and gradually assuming greater responsibilities. Under her leadership, microbiology has become a national testing centre for zoonotic diseases, known particularly for its diagnostic capabilities in Q fever, leptospirosis and brucellosis. It went on to develop its own NATA-accredited serological assays and more recently it has developed NATA-accredited in-house molecular assays as it has made the move to culture-independent, molecular diagnoses for a large number of infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance bacteria. SNP is the reference centre for esoteric molecular, serological and microbiology testing for Sonic Healthcare.

Describing herself as a generalist, Dr Robson derives great pleasure from working with clinicians and patients. She believes that being the interface between clinician and lab is an essential part of the job of pathologist. She spends a great deal of time on the phone and particularly enjoys talking with country practitioners. She finds her chosen field of microbiology exciting because there are always new, emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases and the specialty is constantly transforming itself to meet the challenges they present.

She gained Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in 1986, Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia in 1989, and Fellowship of the Australian College of Tropical Medicine in 1993. She has memberships of the Australian Society of Microbiology; American Society of Microbiology; Australasian Society of Infectious Disease; Australian Society of HIV Medicine; and the Australasian Society of Tropical Medicine and Travel Medicine.

She has served on a great many professional and advisory committees. Her present appointments include: member of the Microbiology Working Group MBS Review; RCPA representative on ASID council; Australian Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (AGAR) executive member; RCPA Examiner; Technical Advisor RCPA Serology Microbiology and Molecular Pathology QAP programmes and member of the Clinical Serology and Molecular Working Group ASM. She plays a prominent role in infection control, serving on the infection control committees of numerous hospitals, and she has been a NATA assessor since 2000. The department has also provided medical microbiology training in the private sector since 1996 providing valuable experience outside the public hospital sector which has traditionally trained microbiologists.

A role of particular personal importance, held since 2008, is as observer on the Public Health Laboratory Network, where she provides a private pathology perspective to a nationwide group of reference laboratories formed to monitor and manage public health and emergency responses to infectious disease outbreaks. She is also actively involved in the One Health Initiative, the global movement aimed at cementing interdisciplinary collaborations in all aspects of healthcare for humans, animals and the environment.

Dr Robson has over 80 publications and presents regularly on her fields of interest.

Her research interests are many and varied and follow "whatever questions are being posed at the time".