Dr Martina Jelocnik | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Dr Martina Jelocnik

PhD (Microbiology) Sunshine Coast, BBioMedSc (Hons) Qld. UT, BAppSci Qld. UT

  • Lecturer in Microbiology
  • Researcher, Centre for Bioinnovation
+61 7 5456 3585
Office location
Sunshine Coast
Martina Jelocnik


Dr Martina Jelocnik is a Lecturer in Microbiology at UniSC and member of the Centre for Bioinnovation. She leads the “Molecular Chlamydia” research team that investigates key questions in the molecular epidemiology, zoonotic potential, control and diagnosis of veterinary chlamydia. Martina’s research is focused on fine-detailed molecular epidemiology of chlamydial infections in Australian livestock as well as wildlife, employing novel molecular approaches. Recently, Martina has been at the forefront of the emerging chlamydia infections in horses and applying innovative “One Health approach” to dissect these infections, whilst showcasing outstanding collaborative skills. She also works on the development of rapid isothermal assays that can be deployed at the Point-of-Care for detection of chlamydia.

In 2019, Dr Jelocnik was awarded several grants and fellowships, including a highly competitive ARC DECRA Fellowship, with research to focus on epidemiology of chlamydial infections in birds and horses, and development of innovative diagnostic methods; and two Agrifutures Australia grants to expand her research on emerging equine chlamydial infections and development of rapid diagnostics, for not just chlamydia, but other horse pathogens.

As someone who is rapidly establishing herself as one of the Australia’s leading experts on animal chlamydiosis, Martina has a range of active collaborations with national and international research groups, government and industry organisations.

Martina is also an avid mentor, USC STEM outreach programs volunteer scientist, enthusiastic Microbiology educator and science communicator.


  • 2023 Jirro Kikkawa Award, Best research project, Birds Queensland
  • 2022 UniSC Vice-Chancellor and President's Awards for Excellence, Research Impact (ECR)
  • Presentation Award, European Meeting on Animal Chlamydioses, Croatia
  • 2017 Fresh Science Competition: Queensland Finalist
  • 2017 USC Early Career Researcher Award: Weighted citations over the past 5 years

Key publications

  • Jelocnik M, et al. Real-time fluorometric and end-point colorimetric isothermal assays for detection of equine pathogens C. psittaci and equine herpes virus 1: validation, comparison and application at the point of care. BMC Vet Res. 2021. 17:279.
  • Kasimov, V., White, R. T., Foxwell, J., Jenkins, C., Gedye, K., Pannekoek, Y., & Jelocnik, M. (2023). Whole-genome sequencing of Chlamydia psittaci from Australasian avian hosts: A genomics approach to a pathogen that still ruffles feathers. Microbial genomics, 9(7), mgen001072.
  • Jelocnik, Martina et al. “Molecular characterisation of the Australian and New Zealand livestock Chlamydia pecorum strains confirms novel but clonal ST23 in association with ovine foetal loss.” Veterinary microbiology vol. 283 (2023): 109774.

Professional memberships

The Australian Society of Microbiology (MASM)

Research grants

Project Name Funding Body
Development of Point of Care chlamydial diagnostics Radetek Diagnostic
Understanding prevalence and impact of other bacterial, viral and chlamydial co-infections in koalas WIRES
Understanding the epidemiology of chlamydial infections in Thoroughbred mares Agrifutures
On the brink of infectious disease spill-over: From parrots to horses to humans Australian Research Council - Discovery Early Career Researcher Award
Rapid diagnosis of infectious agents of equine reproductive loss Agrifutures

Research areas

  • Veterinary microbiology
  • Molecular microbiology and epidemiology
  • Molecular epidemiology and comparative genomics of chlamydial species infecting human, livestock and wildlife hosts
  • Development of molecular diagnostic tests
  • Investigating zoonotic potential of chlamydiae

Teaching areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular biology

Dr Martina Jelocnik's areas of knowledge include veterinary microbiology, zoonoses, chlamydial infections and disease.

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