VPDS Staff


Associate Professor Mark Krockenberger


A/ Prof Mark Krockenberger-Director of VPDS (Veterinary Pathologist)
BSc(Vet), BVSc, PhD

Mark's research interests include the Host-Pathogen-Environment Interactions of Cryptococcosis, diseases of koalas and Australian Wildlife, as well as the diagnostic use of Immunohistochemistry in soft tissue tumours of cats and dogs.
Academic profile..


Dr Derek Spielman


Dr Derek Spielman-Deputy Director of VPDS (Veterinary Pathologist)
MVSc BSc PhD MACVSc (Wildlife Medicine)

Derek's research interests cover wildlife pathology, diseases and ecology and epidemiology of wildlife diseases, pharmacokinetics of antibiotics in Australian marsupials and conservation genetics.
Academic profile..


George Tsoukalas


George Tsoukalas-Technical Manager (Lab Manager) VPDS

George is currently the Technical Manager for Veterinary Pathology Diagnostic Services.
He has extensive experience in diagnostic testing in the areas of haematology and biochemistry.
George started working for the Department of Veterinary Pathology in 1982 in the media lab and moved to the Veterinary Clinical Pathology Lab in 1985. George has been overseeing the management of VPDS since 2009.


Dr Jan Slapeta


Dr Jan Slapeta-Veterinary Parasitologist
MVDr., PhD

Jan joined the Parasitology team in the Faculty in 2007. Jan specialises in the molecular identification and the evolution of protozoan parasites. His diagnostic techniques and biodiversity studies have received worldwide acceptance. He has a particular interest in applications of molecular biology towards elucidating the unique properties of parasites of medical and veterinary importance.
Academic profile..


Dr Jacqui Norris


Dr Jacqui Norris-Veterinary Microbiologist
BVSc (Hons), MVS (Melb), PhD, MASM, Grad Cert Educ Stud (Higher), IVAS Cert. Acup.

Jacqui's current research projects involve feline (FCoV, FIV, FHV) and canine viruses (distemper; parvovirus), aetiology/pathogenesis of renal disease in cats, pathogenesis of dental diseases in companion animals, antimicrobial resistance patterns, and veterinary education. Her main research area is in the immunopathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment of the dreaded Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), a fatal feline coronavirus (FCoV) associated disease of domestic and wild cats.
Academic profile..


Dr Rachael Gray


Dr Rachael Gray-Veterinary Clinical Pathologist
BVSc (Hons), Grad Cert Ed Stud (Higher Education), PhD

Rachael's research interests cover the health and disease investigations of seals and sea lions; in addition, cetacean hearing.

Academic profile..


Dr Damien Higgins


Dr Damien Higgins-Veterinary Pathologist
BVSc, M Vet Stud (Wild Animal Medicine & Husbandry), PhD

Damien's research interests cover Wildlife Disease Ecology and Immunopathology. His research projects include: investigation into gastrointestinal absorption of xenobiotics by the koala, genetic characterization of chlamydophila of koalas and pathogenesis of chlamydiosis, and immunology and immunogenetics of the Australian Sea Lion.
Academic profile..


Scott Lindsay


Scott Lindsay-Veterinary Pathologist
BVSc, MACVSc (Pathobiology), GradCertEd (Higher Ed)

Scott supervises Research Masters on the topic of Host Immune Response of the Fat-Tailed Dunnart (Sminthopsis crassicaudata) to the Protozoan Parasite Neospora caninum.
Academic profile..


Lydia Tong


Lydia Tong-Veterinary Pathology Resident

Lydia graduated from veterinary school at the University of Cambridge in 2009 and joined VPDS as the Resident in Veterinary Pathology in September 2011. She applied for her residency from aboard a warship, the USS Cleveland, where she was spending six months treating the animals of the South Pacific with the United States Navy. Prior to this she worked in small animal practice in London and spent two months vasectomising vervet monkeys in South Africa. Her interests include forensic pathology and wildlife population health and her current research projects involve characterising fractures of abused dogs and familial arrthymogenic cardiomyopathy in chimpanzees.

She has a very special one-eyed Kelpie x Border Collie rescue puppy called Scarlett who charms and terrorises the department on a daily basis, and rides to work every day on the back of Lydia’s bike.

Academic profile..


Patricia Martin


Patricia Martin-Diagnostic Microbiologist/Cytologist

Trish has worked in the Veterinary Pathology Diagnostic Services since 1991. Her main interests are diagnostic cytology and microbiology. Outside of work Trish is kept busy looking after several wayward dogs and horses which currently include Pym, a 9 year old Kelpie cross, Marty, a Welsh pony and Giselle, a Trakehner.


Denise McDonell


Denise McDonell-Parasitology (Technician)
BMedSci, Cert IV Business Management

Denise's role as a technical officer in Parasitology, includes teaching, academic support, post graduate support, management of the Parasitology laboratory and Parasitology diagnostics. Denise's past research covers Lucilia cuprina, Fasciola hepatic, nematode resistance mainly Haemonchus contortus.


Karen Barnes


Karen Barnes-Histopathology (Technician)
Pathology Technicians Certificate, Pathology Technicians Higher Certificate, Bachelor of Applied Science (Medical Laboratory Science)
Karen has been working for the Faculty of Veterinary Science, Veterinary Pathology, since 1985. Her first year was spent in Virology, with the late A/Prof Margaret Sabine. In1986 Karen joined the Histopathology Lab, where she works today, applying her microtomy skills and assisting students.
Karen is a mother to two young sons and looks after family pet foxy x kelpie.


Christine Gotsis


Christine Gotsis-Clinical Pathology (Technician)

Christine completed a Diploma of Laboratory Technology (Biotechnology) in 2007.
She has worked in VPDS since September of 2008.
Her main areas of interest are haematology and biochemistry.


Elaine Chew


Elaine Chew-Histopathology (Technician)

Elaine obtained a BSc (Biology) from Sydney Uni, graduating in 1990 and while undertaking a Diploma in Pathology Techniques in 1993, joined VPDS Histology. As the Senior Technical Officer, she tends to the histological needs of the Faculty- students, academic staff, clinics, hospitals and external organisations, within the field of diagnostics, teaching and research.
When not at work, Elaine loves to travel; she enjoys reading and being with friends and family, as well as attending to her hobbies, crafts and science.