General Practice Staff
Associate Professor Vanessa Barrs – Head of Small Animal Medicine
BVSc (hons), PhD MVetClinStud, MANZCVSc (Small Animal), FANZCVSc (Feline), GradCertEd
Registered Feline Medicine Specialist
Head of Small Animal Medicine
Associate Professor Vanessa Barrs is Head of Small Animal Medicine at the University of Sydney and is a registered Specialist in Feline Medicine. Vanessa has directed the busy feline referral service at the Valentine Charlton Cat Centre since 2004 and loves nothing more than helping sick cats get better. She has particular expertise in respiratory and endocrine disease of cats and is an internationally renowned infectious diseases researcher. Her research is focused on infectious pathogens at the human-animal interface, including Aspergillus fungal infections in humans, cats, dogs and birds; parasitic diseases including lungworm and toxoplasmosis and parvoviruses of cats and dogs. Vanessa is President of the International Society of Companion Animal Infectious Diseases and is Scientific Editor for The Veterinary Journal. Vanessa lectures frequently to veterinarians nationally and internationally and has authored over 90 refereed publications and book chapters.
Professor Julia Beatty – Feline Medicine Specialist
BSc (hons), BVetMed PhD FANZCVSc (feline med) GradCertEd (Higher Ed) MRCVS
Professor of Feline Medicine
Julia Beatty’s career has been devoted to improving the health of cats. Jules graduated from the Royal Veterinary College, London and worked for the RSPCA before completing a PhD on feline immunodeficiency virus at the University of Glasgow. She is an RCVS registered Specialist in Feline Medicine and is currently Professor of Feline Medicine. She works with a team of residents and interns on the feline medicine service at the Valentine Charlton Cat Centre. In addition to her work in the clinic, Jules heads a team of clinical researchers developing new treatments and prevention strategies for infections and other diseases of our pets. A major goal is to identify cancer-causing viruses with the long term aim of developing vaccines against some cancers for pets. Her group’s research is published widely and she has contributed to many text books.
Dr Niek Beijerink – Senior Lecturer in Small Animal Medicine
DVM PhD Dipl. ECVIM-CA (Cardiology)
Specialist in Small Animal Medicine (Cardiology)
Niek is a Utrecht (The Netherlands) graduate. After graduation in 2005 he started a residency in Small Animal Internal Medicine and Cardiology at Utrecht University. Meanwhile, in 2007 he completed a PhD in canine reproductive endocrinology. Since 2010 Niek is a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (sub-speciality Cardiology). Niek commenced employment at the University of Sydney Veterinary Teaching Hospital in August 2011.
Dr Peter Bennett – Specialist in Oncology & Internal Medicine
BVSc FANZCVS (Canine Medicine) DACVIM (Oncology, Small Animal Medicine)
Specialist in Oncology & Internal Medicine
Peter is a graduate of the University of Melbourne. After a period working in general practice, he undertook training in small animal medicine via a non-traditional route. His training was undertaken at Massey University, the University of Melbourne, the University of Tennessee and the University of Georgia. He then attained Fellowship status from the Australia and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists as well as Diplomate status from the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. Peter then moved to Purdue University in Indiana as a clinical instructor and in his time there attained his speciality qualification in Oncology.
On his return to Australia, Peter was one of the founding specialists of the Melbourne Veterinary Specialist Centre. He has been involved in training residents in both Small Animal Internal Medicine and Veterinary Oncology. He is a tutor for the Centre for Veterinary Education at the University of Sydney as well as for the Masters of Veterinary Medicine program at Massey University.
Peter has moved to the University of Sydney to establish a comparative oncology program. To help establish collaborative research he has a part time appointment at the NHMRC clinical trials centre. Peter is an established author in the veterinary literature and presents at national and international meetings as an invited speaker.
Peter’s main interest is in advancing the compassionate care of pets with cancer and to improve their quality of life for as long as possible.
Dr Christine Griebsch – Specialist in Small Animal Internal Medicine
Dr. med. vet. DECVIM-CA (Small Animal)
Christine graduated at the Justus-Liebig University Giessen in Germany in 2003. She then started an Internship and a Residency of the European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ECVIM-CA) at the Free University Berlin, Germany. During her Residency she finished her doctoral thesis about immune mediated hemolytic anemia in dogs. In 2009 she went to a private practice before returning to Justus-Liebig University in 2011. In 2010 Christine became a specialist of internal Medicine for Small and Companion Animals and since 2012 she is a Diplomate of the European college of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ECVIM-CA). She joined Sydney University in April 2013. Her main research interests are hematology and endocrinology. Christine enjoys consulting in all areas of small animal medicine.
Dr Lara Boland – Senior Clinical Registrar in Small Animal Medicine
Specialist in Small Animal Internal Medicine
BVSc (Hons I) MANZCVS (Feline Medicine) DipECVIM-CA
Lara graduated from the University of Sydney in 2004 and initially worked in feline and general small animal practice in Brisbane and Canberra. She has completed internships in small animal/emergency medicine at the Animal Referral Hospital, Sydney and the University of Bristol, UK. In 2008 she completed Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists membership examinations in feline medicine. Lara commenced an International Cat Care sponsored residency in small animal medicine in 2010 at the University of Bristol. She returned home to Australia in 2013 and completed the European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine specialist examinations in 2015. Lara has always been fascinated by all things feline including endocrine, urinary tract and geriatric diseases of cats.
Dr Joanna Whitney – Lecturer in Small Animal Medicine
Joanna Whitney BSc (vet) BVSc MVetStud MANZCVS (SmAnimMed, ECC)
Following graduation from the University of Sydney Jo worked in general practice in during which time she developed an interest in medicine and critical care. After completing an internship in small animal medicine at UVTHS Jo worked as an anaesthesia registrar allowing her to hone her skills and knowledge in critical care medicine. Jo then returned to UVTHS medicine department to complete a residency in Small Animal Medicine and is currently employed as a Lecturer in this subject. Whilst at the UVTHS Jo has completed a Masters in Veterinary Studies and is a member of the Small Animal Medicine and Emergency & Critical Care Chapters of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists. She is interested in all areas of internal medicine, particularly infectious disease, haematology and critical illness and is currently undertaking a PhD investigating feline breed susceptibility to infection with environmental fungi.
Dr Geoff Nicolson – Resident in Small Animal Medicine – Cardiology
BVSc (Hons 1)
Resident in Small Animal Cardiology
Geoff was born and raised in Auckland, New Zealand. He moved to Brisbane, Australia in 2007 where he completed his general veterinary training and a one year general rotating internship at the University of Queensland. In 2013 he started an ECVIM-accredited residency in small animal cardiology at the University of Sydney under the supervision of Dr Niek Beijerink. He is particularly interested in electrophysiology, arrhythmias and interventional cardiology.
Dr Amanda Taylor – Resident in Small Animal Medicine
BVSc (Hons) MANZCVS
Amanda grew up in far North Queensland and graduated from University of Queensland in 2007. Since graduation she increased her skills in small animal medicine by completing an internship at a private specialist centre in Brisbane and attaining Membership of the Small Animal Medicine Chapter of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists. She has also worked in several small animal practices around Brisbane. Amanda is passionately interested in all aspects of small animal medicine and is undertaking residency in small animal medicine under the supervision of Dr Peter Bennett and A/Professor Vanessa Barrs.
Dr Jana Leshinsky – Resident in Small Animal Medicine
BVSc MVS (Conservation Medicine) MANZCVS (Small Animal Medicine) GradCertVetStud
Resident in Small Animal Medicine
Jana graduated from the University of Sydney in 2008. During her studies she was a veterinary nurse (live-in student) at the University Veterinary Teaching Hospital Sydney, as well as other private hospitals. Jana has worked in private small animal practice in both Melbourne and Sydney. She has also completed a Master of Veterinary Studies in Conservation Medicine, from Murdoch University. Jana returned to the UVTHS as a post-graduate intern in 2012 in order to develop her skills and knowledge as a small animal veterinarian. After completion of the internship in 2013 she attained Membership of the Small Animal Medicine Chapter of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists. Jana is passionate about all aspects of small animal medicine, with a special interest in gastrointestinal medicine. She is undertaking a residency in small animal medicine under the supervision of Dr Christine Griebsch.
Dr Patrick Byrne – Resident in Small Animal Medicine
Elissa Kadar – Specialist in Small Animal Internal Medicine
BVSc (Hons) Dipl ACVIM
Elissa is a Sydney University Graduate and completed internships at Tufts University, followed by an Internal Medicine residency at the University of California, Davis. She is a registered specialist of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and returned to Australia in 2004, where she now works part time on the referral medicine service. Elissa enjoys all aspects of referral medicine, particularly management of complex medical disorders, patients with multiple medical disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, infectious and immune diseases. She is currently undertaking research to detect novel viruses in dogs.