Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Dr Joanne Connolly

Dr Joanne Connolly

BSc, BVSc (Hons),
PhD Syd,
PGCertTer Tchg Massey,

Joanne Connolly with platypusJoanne has been active in microbiology, public health and wildlife research for 11 years. Her PhD was on the immunopathological characterisation of infectious disease in the koala and the platypus.

She taught at Sydney and Massey Universities prior to joining CSU in 2005. Joanne has obtained $405,443 in research grants and scholarships to date and has supervised 2 PhD and 6 Master's students.

She has generated 36 publications (journal papers and conference works).

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Research InterestsTesting on a Platypus

Mucormycosis in the platypus and frog caused by the fungus Mucor amphibiorum.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) genotypic analysis of M. amphibiorum fungal isolates from diseased Tasmanian platypuses and mainland frogs was performed, to assist our understanding of possible means of introduction and spread of the pathogen.

Investigation of the epidemiology, pathogenicity and immunogenicity of the New Zealand Salmonella Typhimurium DT160 strain.

Necropsies, histopathology and bacterial culture of animals dying during an outbreak of salmonellosis. All outbreak isolates were shown to be identical using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Faecal excretion in birds could persist for at least 10 days, thus they could be a source of infection to humans and other animals.Trap in River

Public health implications of Campylobacter spp. on a dairy farm.

Transmission of Campylobacter from dairy cattle faeces on pasture to water bodies via sub-soil drainage and run-off routes was investigated. Wild birds, flies, and rodents were also assessed as reservoirs of Campylobacter spp. on dairy farm.

Tick transmission of wildlife disease.

Joanne's future research interests include:

Mucor amphibiorum infection trial in trout.
This project will involve trout husbandry, anaesthesia and handling, in addition to fungal culture and histology.

Health status of platypuses in the Murrumbidgee catchment.
This will be the first comprehensive study of the platypus populations in the Murrumbidgee catchment. Mark-recapture surveys will gather information on the abundance, morphometrics and habitat of platypus in farming and undisturbed regions. Platypuses will be captured and identified by microchip, weighed, measured, condition scored, sexed and aged. Blood will be collected for making blood smears, haematological and serum biochemical analysis (e.g. red and white cell counts; electrolyte, albumin, globulin, enzyme levels etc) and serum banking. Platypus will be assessed for external (e.g. ticks, mites, fleas), faecal (e.g. coccidial oocysts, trematode eggs) and blood (e.g. Theileria, Trypanosoma) parasites.

Continuing genotypic and other analysis of Mucor amphibiorum fungal isolates from diseased Tasmanian platypuses and mainland frogs.

Development of a PCR for the detection of the environmental niche of Mucor amphibiorum (e.g. soil, water, platypus/frog/fish faeces, ticks, lesions)

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Recent students

Bijay Adhikari (MVSc) - now completing a PhD at Washington State University. Yi Huang (MVSc)

Student achievements

Bijay Adhikari (MVSc) - obtained a PhD scholarship at Washington State University.

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  • Connolly JH, Stodart B, and Ash G. (2008). Genotypic analysis of Mucor from the platypus and amphibian in Australia. Journal of Wildlife Diseases (in preparation).
  • R Booth and J Connolly (2008). Chapter 6 Platypus. In: Medicine of Australian Mammals. L Vogelnest and R Woods (Eds). CSIRO Publishing.
  • Connolly JH, Alley MR, Dutton GJ and Rogers LE. (2006). Infectivity and persistence of an outbreak strain of Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium DT160 for house sparrows (Passer domesticus) in New Zealand. New Zealand Veterinary Journal 54(6):329-332.
  • Adhikari B, Connolly JH, Madie P, and Davies PR. (2004). Prevalence and clonal diversity of Campylobacter jejuni from dairy farms and urban sources. New Zealand Veterinary Journal 52(6):378-383.
  • Brangenberg N, McInnes C, Connolly JH and Rogers LE. (2003). Implications of a Salmonella Typhimurium DT160 Epidemic in New Zealand Passerines on Management of an Island Population of Kakapo (Strigops habroptilus). Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery 17(4):203-205.
  • Alley MR, Connolly JH, Fenwick SG, Mackereth GF, Leyland MJ, Rogers LE, Haycock M, Nicol C and Reed CEM (2002). An epidemic of salmonellosis caused by Salmonella Typhimurium DT160 in wild birds and humans in New Zealand. New Zealand Veterinary Journal 50(5):170-176.
  • Krockenberger MB, Canfield PJ, Barnes J, Vogelnest L, Connolly JH, Ley C and Malik R. (2002). Cryptococcus neoformans variety gattii in the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus): serological evidence for subclinical cryptococcosis. Medical Mycology 40:273-282.
  • Whittington RJ, Connolly JH, Obendorf DL, Emmins JJ, Grant TR and Handasyde KA. (2002). Serological responses against the pathogenic dimorphic fungus Mucor amphibiorum in populations of platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) with and without ulcerative dermatitis. Veterinary Microbiology 87:59-71.
  • Connolly JH, Canfield PJ and Obendorf DL. (2000). Gross, histological and immunohistological features of mucormycosis in the platypus. Journal of Comparative Pathology 123:36-46.

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