Avian and Exotic Medicine Club

Speaker Bios

2016 Symposium

Linda Barter, BSc(vet), BVSc, MVSc, PhD

Symposium Topic:

Rabbit Anesthesia

Dr. Linda Barter was born, raised, and attended veterinary school in Sydney, Australia. She practiced and trained further in Australia and New Zealand before coming to UC Davis for a residency in Anesthesia & Critical Patient Care. She was voard certified by the American College of Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia in 2004 and received a PhD in Molecular, Cellular, and Integrative Physiology from UC Davis in 2007. She then joined the UC Davis faculty, where she is currently an Associate Professor of Veterinary Anesthesiology. Dr. Barter is interested in all aspects of anesthesiology and analgesia and particularly enjoys teaching and anesthetizing many different species. Dr. Barter has a feisty feline, a gregarious Golden, a bouncing bunny, and too many fish tanks.

Deena Brenner, DVM, Dipl ACZM

Symposium Topic:

Elephant Medical Management

Deena Brenner received her DVM from North Carolina State University and went on to complete an internship in small animal internal medicine and surgery at Purdue University, and a residency in zoological medicine at UC Davis, the Zoological Society of San Diego, and Sea World San Diego. Dr. Brenner is the chair of the scientific program committee (SPC) for the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians (AAZV) and a scientific advisor in anesthesia for the Elephant Population Management Program (EPMP), which focuses on minimally invasive surgical contraception in African elephants. Dr. Brenner was an associate veterinarian at the Denver Zoo. She is currently a senior veterinarian at the San Diego Zoo.

Stephen Divers, DZooMed, DECZM (Zoo Health Management, Herpetology), DACZM, FRCVS

Symposium Topics:

Reptile Diagnostic Endoscopy & Endosurgery

Small Mammal Endoscopy

Endoscopy in Zoological Research and Conservation

Born in England, Dr. Stephen Divers graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in London in 1994. He obtained his Certificate and Diploma in Zoological Medicine from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), is a RCVS recognized Specialist in Zoo & Wildlife Medicine, a Diplomate of both the American and European Colleges of Zoological Medicine, a European Veterinary Specialist in Zoological Medicine (Zoo Health Management), an International Fullbright Specialist in Zoological Medicine, and obtained his RCVS PhD/fellowship for his work on exotic animal endoscopy and endosurgery. He is a past-president of the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians, scientific editor of the Journal of Herpetological Medicine & Surgery and an associate editor for the Journal of Zoo & Wildlife Medicine. He has served on the ABVP subspecialties in small mammal and herpetological medicine, and was involved with the establishment of the zoological companion animal (exotic pet) examination through the ACZM, and the European College of Zoological Medicine, herpetology and zoo health management subspecialties.

Dr. Divers has lectured at over 65 national or international conferences across the Americas, Europe and Australasia, and has twice received the Best Speaker Award at the North American Vet Conference and the International Conference on Exotics. He was voted "Exotic DVM of the Year" in 2006. Stephen heads the Zoological Medicine Service (with Joerg Mayer) and supervises the ACZM zoological residency program at the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia. He has over 100 publications to his name including various editorships, book chapters, and scientific journal papers, including Current Therapy in Reptile Medicine and Surgery (co-edited by Mader). He is currently working on the 3rd edition of Reptile Medicine and Surgery, which should be published in 2017.

Scott Echols, DVM, DABVP (Avian Practice)

Symposium Topics:

How to Cover Husbandry in the Avian Exam and Stay on Time

Enrichment for Captive Parrots or Hospital Inpatients

Grey Parrot Anatomy Project: Advances in Imaging Technology

Avian Renal Disease

Mark Edwards, PhD

Symposium Topic:

Zoo Nutrition

Mark Edwards, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Animal Science Department at California Polytechnic State University and has been a faculty member since 2007. He earned a B.A. defree in Zoology in 1987 from Miami University, and in 1995, a Ph.D. Animal Science/Comparative Animal Nutrition from Michigan State University. Dr. Edwards has been working in the field of comparative animal nutrition for over twenty years. His activities and interests contribute to his personal objective to enhance animal health, welfare, and species conservation through the development, teaching, and application of science-based animal nutrition, preventive health, and husbandry practices. For over eleven years as the first staff nutritionist, Mark developed and coordinated the nutrition program for the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park, which included all aspects of dietary husbandry and nutrition for the living collections: 8,000 specimens representing over 800 species. He later joined the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, in a similar role, to oversee "The Nations' Zoo's" Clinical Nutrition Program at both the National Zoo and its related facility, the Conservation Research Venter in Front Royal, VA. Currently assigned a teaching a research appointment, his activities focus on comparative and equine nutrition at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Dr. Edwards considers one of the most rewarding aspects of teaching and conducting research in this community is the 'Learn By Doing' environment; a model that closely compliments his own expertise and philosophies. He conducts applied and contract research projects, introducing students to the time-honored, fundamental techniques, many of which are being lost with shifting emphasis from the whole animal to more isolated specializations. He has authored or contributed to numerous books and periodicals and regularly makes scientific presentations before profession groups and organizations; and served as a member of the National Research Council's ad hoc committee on Nonhuman Primate Nutrition and President of the Comparative Nutrition Society.

Jessica Emerson, DVM

Symposium Topics: 

Rabbit Emergency and Critical Care

Year in Review

Dr. Jessica Emerson is the current Staff Faculty Veterinarian for the Companion Avian and Exotic Pet Service. She graduated from Michigan State University with a DVM in 2005. She completed a Small Animal Rotating Internship at the University of Illinois and was in private practice in Michigan for 3.5 years. Following this time, she completed a Zoological Medicine Internship at the University of Illinois and then a Residency in Zoological Medicine at the University of Florida. She subsequently worked for a year as a Clinical Instructor at Disney's Animal Kingdom prior to coming to UC Davis. Dr. Emerson's clinical interests include emergency and critical care medicine, transfusion medicine, and anesthesia. In addition to her interest in Companion Avian and Exotic Pets, Dr. Emerson also has a great love for crocodillians, rhinos, and fruit bats.

Cara Field, DVM

Symposium Topic: 

Pinniped Rehabilitation

Christine Fiorello, DVM, PhD, DACZM

Symposium Topic:

Seabird Ocular Lesions

Dr. Christine Fiorello graduated from Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine and completed a small animal internship at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital. She earned a PhD in disease ecology from the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation in Columbia University and worked with domestic and wild carnivores in Bolivia. She the completed a Zoological Medicine residency at the University of Florida and became board-certified in 2006. After 1 year at Disney's Animal Kingdom and 3 years as an Assistant Professor at the University of Georgia, she joined the Wildlife Health Center at UC Davis as the Response Veterinarian for the Oiled Wildlife Care Network. She has experience with a wide range of mammalian, avian, and reptilian species both in the field and in captive environments.

David Guzman, LV, MS, DECZM (Avian, Small Mammal), DACZM

Symposium Topics: 

Avian Orthopedics

Year in Review


Dr. Guzman received his veterinary degree from the University of Leon, Spain, in 2002. He practiced exotic and small animal medicine in Spain and UK until 2004.  Dr. Guzman completed an Exotic Animal Medicine and Surgery Internship at Tufts University in 2005, a Zoological Medicine Residency combined with a Masters in Veterinary Medical Sciences at Louisiana State University in 2008.  He served as a Clinical Instructor in Zoological Medicine at the University of Wisconsin until 2010, when he joined the Companion Avian and Exotic Pet Medicine Program at the UC Davis. Dr. Guzman has a special research interest in avian therapeutics and infectious diseases, and a strong clinical interest in soft tissue and orthopedic surgery, and oncology in exotic animals.

Michelle Hawkins, VMD, DABVP (Avian Practice)

Symposium Topic:

Year in Review


Dr. Hawkins received her veterinary degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1997. She completed a residency and a fellowship in the Companion Avian and Exotic Pet Medicine Program at the University of California, Davis in 2001 and obtained ABVP (Avian Practice) board certification in 2002. After two years in private practice, she joined the faculty of the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 2003 and is currently Associate Professor of the Companion Zoological Medicine Service. Dr. Hawkins has experience in companion avian and exotic animal medicine as well as in wildlife rehabilitation and conservation medicine. Dr Hawkin’s special interests are in anesthesia, analgesia and critical patient care, especially in wild birds of prey.

Kevin Keel, DVM, MS, PhD, DACVP

Symposium Topic:

Updates on Chronic Wasting Disease

Steven Monfort, DVM, PhD

Symposium Topic: 

Reproduction of Endangered Species

Dr. Steven Monfort is Director of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI), headquartered on 3,200-acres in Front Royal, Virginia. SCBI provides leadership in the Smithsonian’s global effort to use science-based approaches to conserve species and the habitats they require for survival. SCBI scientists conduct research and train conservation professionals in more than 30 countries worldwide in a wide range of disciplines including wildlife ecology, forest/climate change research, genetics/genomics, reproductive sciences, and zoo biology.

Throughout his career Monfort has used multidisciplinary, collaborative science to help save species and habitats and restore animals to the wild. He is an expert in zoo biology, animal health, reproductive biology, behavioral ecology, and conservation biology. He was an early innovator in developing noninvasive endocrine monitoring techniques that are now widely used for assessing reproductive status and wellbeing of wildlife species in zoos and in the wild.

Monfort created the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation which provides transformative, hands-on education and professional development in conservation biology and allied fields for undergraduates, graduates, professionals, and others interested in advancing conservation.

Monfort helped catalyze and launch a number of significant conservation initiatives, including theSahara Conservation Fund; Conservation Centers for Species Survival; Panama Amphibian Rescue & Conservation Project; and the Global Tiger Initiative. He has served as the chair of the Asian Wild Horse Species Survival Plan and is a member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s antelope, deer and conservation breeding specialist groups.

Monfort earned a BA in Biology from U.C. San Diego, doctor of veterinary medicine and master's degrees from U.C. Davis, and doctorate in environmental biology and public policy from George Mason University.

Shannon Riggs, DVM

Symposium Topic: 

Wildlife Rehabilitation in California

Heather Robertson, DVM

Symposium Topic: 

Xenarthran Medicine

Ann Strom, DVM, MS, DACVO

Symposium Topic: 

Avian Cataracts

Dr. Ann Strom received her veterinary degree from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark in 2010 and completed her Master's thesis on canine glaucoma at the University of Zurich, Switzerland the same year. She then completed a one-year internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada in 2011 and her residency in Comparative Ophthalmology at the University of California, Davis in 2014. Her professional interests include all aspects of ophthalmic disease and surgery, advanced diagnostic imaging, and comparative vision research.

Noemie Summa, DMV, IPSAV (Zoological Medicine)

Syposium Topic:  

Reptile Oncology

Valarie Tynes, DVM, DACVB

Symposium Topic: 

Repetitive Behaviors in Captive Exotics

Management of Repetitive Behaviors in Zoo Animals

Dr. Valarie Tynes is a native Texan and received her DVM from Texas A&M University. She worked in private practice for 14 years before returning to academia to pursue a residency in clinical animal behavior at the University of California, Davis in 2000. She has been a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists since 2003 and is currently President-Elect of the College. Her special interests are the behavior and welfare of pet pigs, exotic pets, and zoo animals. She is a frequent speaker at veterinary meetings around the country and author of numerous articles and textbook chapters. She is the editor of The Behavior of Exotic Pets and co-editor of the Behavior issue of the Veterinary Clinics of North America - Small Animal Clinics released in May of 2014. She is a veterinary services specialist for Ceva Animal Health, providing behavior education, training, and technical support to the sales force as well as lectures and presentations to veterinarians in the field. She also provides consulting services for zoos, veterinarians, and pet owners.

Ray Wack, DVM, DACZM

Symposium Topic: 

Diseases of Cheetahs in Captivity

Dr. Wack is a Senior Veterinarian at the Karen Drayer Wildlife Health Center at UC Davis. He serves as service chief for Zoological Medicine and staff veterinarian at the Sacramento Zoo. Dr. Wack loves to pass on his passion for wildlife medicine to veterinary students. As part of the new UC Davis DVM curriculum, Dr. Wack leads a 10 week zoological medicine block. His research interests include applying clinical pathology techniques to zoological medicine, developing anesthesia protocols, and One Health solutions to conserving endangered species. Current conservations efforts are focused on Riparian Brush Rabbits, Grevy Zebra, and Giant Garter Snakes.

Mike Ziccardi, DVM, MPVM, PhD

Symposium Topic: 

Disaster Management to Protect Wildlife

Dr. Ziccardi received his DVM, MPCM, and PhD in epidemiology from UC Davis, emphasizing free-ranging wildlife health and the effects of petroleum exposure in wildlife. He has been an oil spill response veterinarian and coordinator since 1992, responding to more than 50 spills in the US and abroad, including as the Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Group Leader for the M/V Rena spill in New Zealand in 2011. He has worked as a contract veterinarian for California Department of Fish and Game, a wildlife epidemiologist at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, and as a Associate Professor of Clinical Wildlife Health at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. His current position is Director of Oiled Wildlife Care Network and Senior Wildlife Veterinarian and Associate Director of UC Davis Wildlife Health Center.