Medicine Staff


Associate Professor Vanessa Barrs - Head of Small Animal Medicine

A/Prof Vanessa Barrs

BVSc (Hon), MVetClinStud, FACVSc (Specialist in Feline Medicine)
Associate Professor in Small Animal Medicine
Head of Small Animal Medicine
Feline Medicine Specialist


Associate Professor Vanessa Barrs is a University of Sydney graduate. She is a registered Specialist in Feline Medicine and has worked in University and Private Referral Practices in London and Sydney. A/Professor Barrs returned to the University of Sydney to lead the Small Animal Medicine Unit in 2004. She has represented the profession in many roles including as President of the Feline Chapter of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists, Specialist representative of the NSW Board of Veterinary Practitioners and trustee of the Australian Feline Health Research Fund. A/Professor Barrs is passionate about teaching and was awarded the Australian Veterinary Association Excellence in Teaching Award in 2007. Her research interests include feline alimentary lymphoma and fungal respiratory infections, for which she was awarded Distinguished Scientific Award in 2009 by the Australian Small Animal Veterinary Association. A/Professor Barrs loves helping sick cats get better and welcomes new case referrals of any nature. Faculty Web Profile


Associate Professor Julia Beatty - Feline Medicine Specialist

Associate Professor Julia Beatty

BSc (Hons) BVetMed PhD FACVSc (feline medicine) MRCVS
Associate Professor in Small Animal Medicine


Associate Professor Julia Beatty’s career has been devoted to improving the health of cats. Jules graduated from the Royal Veterinary College, London then completed a PhD and post-doctoral studies on feline immunodeficiency virus at the University of Glasgow. She has practiced feline medicine in primary and referral facilities, is an RCVS registered Specialist in Feline Medicine and a past President of the Feline Chapter of Australian College of Veterinary Scientists. Jules teaches Small Animal Medicine at the University of Sydney. Her group’s main clinical research interests are feline infectious diseases. She has published extensively in peer-reviewed journal and contributed to many text books. She presents clinical research and continuing education seminars internationally. Jules enjoys all aspects of feline medicine and is happy to see your referrals. Faculty Web Profile


Dr Niek Beijerink - Senior Lecturer in Small Animal Medicine

Dr Niek Beijerink

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.

Faculty Web Profile


Dr Peter Bennett - Specialist in Oncology & Internal Medicine

Peter Bennett

BVSc FANZCVS (Canine Medicine) DACVIM(Oncology, Small Animal 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

Christine Griebsch

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 Elissa Kadar – Specialist in Small Animal Medicine - Internal Medicine

Elissa Kadar

BVSc (Hons) Dipl ACVIM

Elissa is a small animal internal medicine specialist and enjoys seeing all kinds of medicine cases. Following graduation, Elissa spent time in equine and small animal private practice prior to pursuing internships (Emergency Critical Care and General Medicine) at Tufts University in the USA. She then completed a small animal medicine residency at the University of California, Davis and became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 2004. Elissa works part time at the UVTHS on the busy internal medicine referral practice. Elissa is friendly, caring and compassionate and happy to see referral medicine cases of any nature.


Dr Graham Swinney – Specialist in Canine Medicine

Graham Swinney

BVSc FANZCVS (Canine Medicine)

Graham graduated from the University of Sydney in 1987. He then moved to New Zealand where he was an Assistant Lecturer in Small Animal Medicine under Dr Boyd Jones. From 1990-1991 he undertook a medical residency at the University of Queensland. Graham returned to the University of Sydney in 1993 where he was a Registrar in Small Animal Medicine. During this time he achieved his Fellowship of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in Canine Medicine. From 1999 to 2005 Graham worked as a clinical track Assistant Professor at Washington State University. He returned to Sydney in 2005 and spent the next four years at the Veterinary Specialist Centre before returning to the UVTHS in 2009 as a Specialist in Canine Medicine. Since 2011 Graham has been an Internal Medicine Consultant at IDEXX Laboratories, whilst still undertaking some clinical work and teaching at the UVTHS. He welcomes referrals in all aspects of canine medicine


Dr Lara Boland - Senior Clinical Registrar in Small Animal Medicine

Lara Boland

BVSc (Hons I) MANZCVS (Feline Medicine)

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. After completing her residency she returned home to Australia in 2013 and plans to sit specialist examinations soon. Lara has always been fascinated by all things feline including endocrine, urinary tract and geriatric diseases of cats.


Dr Joanna Whitney – Senior Registrar in Small Animal Medicine

Dr Joanna Whitney

BSc (Vet) (Hons) BVSc (Hons) MVetstud MANZCVS(SmAnimMed,ECC)

Following graduation from the University of Sydney Jo worked in general practice in Sydney. During this time she developed an interest in medicine and critical care and commenced a medicine internship at the University of Sydney in 2007. Following this Jo worked as an anaesthesia registrar allowing her to hone her skills and knowledge in emergency and critical care medicine. Jo then returned to UVTHS medicine department in 2012 as a Resident in Small Animal Medicine. 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


Dr Geoff Nicolson – Resident in Small Animal Medicine - Cardiology

Geoff Nicolson

BVSc (Hons I)

Geoff graduated from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science in 2011. He has always been very passionate about cardiology and knew from the early years of veterinary school he would pursue specialisation in this field. He completed a one year general rotating internship at the University of Queensland Small Animal Clinic and Veterinary Teaching Hospital in 2012. Geoff joined the UVTHS in 2013 and is enrolled in a 3 year residency program in Small Animal Cardiology under the supervision of Dr Niek Beijerink. Geoff also consults on internal medicine cases in the referral medicine service.


Dr Amanda Taylor – Resident in Small Animal Medicine

Amanda Taylor

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)

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. She is passionate about animal welfare and conservation; and has special interests in both small animal medicine and surgery. Jana has returned to the UVTHS as a post-graduate intern in order to develop her skills and knowledge as a small animal veterinarian.
When she isn’t studying or working, Jana enjoys Taekwondo, hiking and eating good food.