HomeSt. Matthew's University

School of Veterinary Medicine Faculty

Veterinary Faculty

Karen Rosenthal,This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. D.V.M., M.S.

Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, School of Veterinary Medicine
D.V.M., North Carolina State University
M.S., Duke University
Date of appointment: January 2012

Dr. Rosenthal served as Associate Professor and was founding Director and Section Chief of Special Species Medicine at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She has also served as the Medical Director of the Veterinary Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Rosenthal is a member of the AVMA Council on Veterinary Services and a recent past president of the Association of Avian Veterinarians. Previously she was the Founding and National Director of Avian and Exotic Animal Services for Antech Diagnostics and a staff member for five years on the Avian and Exotic Service at The Animal Medical Center in New York City. Dr. Rosenthal has received numerous awards for her work, including the Daniels Award for Excellence in Small Mammal Endocrinology, The NC State Alumni of the Year Award in 2003, the Exotic DVM of the Year (2010), and the University of Pennsylvania Excellence in Teaching Award. She has authored over 80 publications on a range of scientific topics. Dr. Rosenthal is an invited speaker both nationally and internationally and can currently be seen on National Geographic Channel's "Jurassic CSI" discussing birds, reptiles, and dinosaurs. Some of her most recent research includes her participation in the research group based at the University of Manchester and Stanford University that utilizes the National Linear Accelerator at Stanford University to study the anatomy of extinct dinosaurs in an attempt to compare it to the anatomy of birds. Dr. Rosenthal did her internship and residency training at The Animal Medical Center.

Veterinary Biosciences

Brendan Lee, D.V.M., M.Sc., M.P.H., D.A.C.V.P.M.

Head, Department of Veterinary Biosciences
Associate Professor of Veterinary Public Health and Epidemiology
D.V.M., The University of The West Indies,M.Sc., Royal Veterinary College, University of London, M.P.H., University of Minnesota
Date of appointment: January 2013

Dr. Lee is cross trained in Human and Veterinary Public Health and joined Saint Matthew’s after serving as senior fellow with the Institute of Science for Global Policy. Previously he worked as a research fellow with the National Center for Food Protection and Defense, a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence. Dr. Lee’s interest revolve around foodborne and zoonotic diseases.

Elaine Blythe, B.S., Pharm.D.

Associate Professor of Veterinary Pharmacology
B.S., pharmacy, Southwest Oklahoma State University
Pharm.D., Creighton University

Instructor at West Texas A& M University and Creighton University Assistant to Associate Professor, School of Pharmacy, Creighton University Certified Online Instructor (Creighton University). Dr. Blythe has a strong background in the pharmaceutical industry and regulatory affairs. She has had extensive training and experience in disaster relief work, including a three week deployment during Hurricane Katrina.

Levi Ohale, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Professor of Veterinary Anatomy
D.V.M., University of Ibadan, Nigeria
Ph.D., Iowa State University

Dr. Ohale taught anatomy at the University of Nigeria at Nsukka from 1980-1993, serving as Head of the Dept. of Anatomy from 1987-1993. He then move to South Africa where he was involved in teaching of gross anatomy in the Medical University of South Africa from 1993-1999. He then joined the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Onderstepoort from 1993-2003, teaching gross anatomy of both large and small animals. He was named Emeritus Professor of Anatomy on his retirement in 2003, after which he moved to Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine where he taught anatomy until the end of 2009. He moved to St. Matthew’s University in January 2010, where he is professor of anatomy with an interest in developing research projects in cardiovascular anatomy and the effects of parasites on animals.

Aftab Awan, D.V.M., Ph.D., M.Sc.

Professor of Virology and Immunology
Ph.D., University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
D.V.M., College of Veterinary Medicine, Lahore, Pakistan
M.Sc., College of Veterinary Medicine Lahore, Pakistan

Dr. Awan has more than 25 years of teaching and research experience in infectious disease and immunology. Dr. Awan was a Professor of Microbiology and Pathology at St. James School of Medicine where he also taught anatomy, histology, embryology and genetics. Dr Awan was Associate Lecturer and Senior Scientist at Cambridge University (UK) and taught virology to veterinary students at Queens Veterinary School, University of Cambridge for 22 years, where he still lectures. He also taught anatomy and microbiology to DVM students in Lahore, Pakistan where he also worked on rabies and developed the first diagnostic laboratory. Dr. Awan has extensive experience in research in academia and industry and has 39 refereed publications, with many more in development. His areas of interest in research are in viral pathogenesis, viral immunology, immunopathology, neurovirology, immunosuppression and immunomodulation, autoimmunity, toxicology, antivirals and vaccine efficacy.

Dr. Aka Lawrence

Lawrence Aka, DVM, MSc, PhD

Professor of Veterinary Physiology.
DVM, MSc, Ph.D., University of Nigeria
Date of Appointment: January 2017.

Dr. Aka obtained his DVM degree in 1996 from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. In 2004 and 2010, he obtained his Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees respectively from the same University. Dr Aka taught Veterinary Physiology at the University of Nigeria, from 1998-2016. He served as Head of the Department of Veterinary Physiology of same University until his appointment in St. Matthew’s University. He also taught Veterinary Physiology, as visiting Professor, in various Universities including Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, Nigeria, from 2009-2016, University of Maiduguri, Nigeria, 2012- 2014, University of Agriculture Markurdi, 2011-2013 e.t.c. He has supervised and examined several postgraduate projects in veterinary physiology. As an erudite scholar, he has published over seventy (70) articles in reputable peer review journals. His areas of interest are: 1. Hormonal regulation of digestive functions in ruminants and organic manipulation of rumen methane emission. 2. Impacts of environmental residues on animal reproduction. He has developed models for the use of organic compounds for the modulation of rumen methane production particularly in West African dwarf sheep. He is a recipient of several academic awards including the University of Nigeria faculty best student award at undergraduate and Doctoral levels. He has authored several books including “Foundation of Veterinary Physiology” (1 st edition, 2004, and 2 nd edition, 2014), and others of general interest. He belongs to reputable professional organizations.

Veronica Boling, B.S., D.V.M.

Assistant Professor of Pathology
B.S., California Polytechnic University, Pomona, California, D.V.M., Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, California, Post Doc Scholar, Residency in Anatomic Pathology, University of Kentucky, Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (2012)
Date of appointment: January 2013

Veronica’s interest in pathology developed while in undergraduate school, where she worked as a necropsy technician at the California Animal Health and Food Safety Diagnostic Laboratory in San Bernardino. During the Exotic Newcastle Disease outbreak in the early 2000’s, she was on the state task force performing necropsies on poultry. While in veterinary school, she necropsied marine birds at the International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) in San Pedro, and seal and sea lions at the neighboring Marine Mammal Care Center. She was the first student from her veterinary school to be accepted into an anatomic pathology residency program. She completed her residency training at the University of Kentucky, Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, and now is board eligible. She has extensive training in small and large animal pathology, particularly equine. Her interests include diagnostic pathology, anatomical model preparation for teaching and parasitology. She also has an extensive parasite collection, which she loves to show students!

James Adekeye, Ph.D., D.V.M, M.S.

Professor of Microbiology
Ph.D., Ahmadu Bello University, M.S., Kansas State University, D.V.M., Ahmadu Bello University

Dr. Adekeye has been associated with educational organizations worldwide, including: The University of Guelph Biomedical Sciences, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (Canada) Department of Pathobiology, Ontario Veterinary College, the Center for Tropical Veterinary Medicine in Edinburgh, the Norwegian Veterinary College, the Central Public Health Laboratory in London, the Veterinary Public Health Laboratory at Kansas State University and the Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta (CDC), where he trained in epidemiology and health administration.

Dr. Adekeye has taught as a Professor of Microbiology and Epidemiology at the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in St. Kitts and his alma mater, Ahmadu Bello University, where he served as Professor and Head of Pathology and Microbiology and Deputy Dean of the faculty. He has also served as Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Medicine & Health Sciences (UMHS) in St. Kitts. He has over fifty peer reviewed scientific journal publications to his credit and has served as major supervisor for several students at the Master and Ph.D. levels.

Liesl Schmidt, D.V.M.

Assistant Professor of Basic and Clinical Sciences
D.V.M., Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Schmidt is an assistant professor who instructs students in Anatomy, Principles of Surgery, and Advanced Clinical Skills. She performed a small animal rotating internship at NYC Veterinary Specialists before joining SMU. Her primary fields of research and strong interests are cardiology and emergency medicine.

Veterinary Clinical Sciences

Marco Demaria, D.V.M.

Head, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences
D.V.M., University of Torino, Torino, Italy
Residency in Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University

Dr. Demaria had several years of experience in surgical practice in Italy and in Cambridge, England prior to entering the residency program at Michigan State University in 2007. Following his residency, he has been serving as the Chief Surgeon at New York City Veterinary Specialties, Brooklyn, NY. His research interests have focused on bone grafts in skeletal repair, use of negative pressure therapy for repair of large tissue wounds and various treatment approaches to correct skeletal problems including hip dysplasia.


Gaby Verburgh Hoffmann, D.V.M., Dr., Ph.D., Diplomate ACVIM, Diplomate ECVIM-CA

Professor of Small Animal Medicine
D.V.M. University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Germany
Dr. med. vet. University of Zurich, now Vetsuisse, Switzerland
Ph.D. University of Utrecht, Netherlands
Diplomate ACVIM
Diplomate ECVIM-CA
Registed Royal Dutch Veterinary Specialist

Dr. Verburgh Hoffmann received the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Germany in 1996. After internships in Japan, and South Africa Dr. Verburgh joined the Department of Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology at University of Zurich in Switzerland for her 2-year Dr. med. vet. thesis. During this time Dr Verburgh Hoffmann also did practical work at a private Small Animal hospital in Zurich. In 1998 she started a 4-year residency training in Small Animal Internal Medicine. After Dr. Verburgh had successfully completed this joined residency at the University of Berne in Switzerland (now Vetsuisse), as well as Louisiana State University she became faculty member with the Department of Clinical Sciences at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. She became tenured faculty and head of the Small Animal Gastroenterology service. Dr Verburgh Hoffmann worked on a PhD thesis on copper associated chronic hepatitis in Labrador retrievers during her time in Utrecht, which allowed her to describe a new disease in Labradors and defend her thesis successfully. At the end of 2009 Dr Verburgh left Utrecht, to become the owner of a small animal hospital in Bavaria, Germany. After 6 exciting and successful years of practical referral work, as well as economic and human resource management, she became faculty member at St Georges University in Grenada. Dr. Verburgh Hoffmann joined the faculty at St. Matthews University in April 2017.

Dr. Verburgh Hoffmann's research interests and experience include small animal hepatology, trace elements, veterinary public health and one health - one medicine, genomics and gene expression profiling, among others.


Marc Verburgh, D.V.M, M.Sc.

Associate Professor of Farm Animal Internal Medicine and Surgery
D.V.M. University of University of Utrecht, Netherlands
MSc University of University of Utrecht, Netherlands

In 1990 Dr. Verburgh received the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree with distinction from Utrecht University in the Netherlands. He soon became owner of a private practice with emphasis on Farm Animal care. Over the years his practice grew from 3 veterinarians to the largest veterinary clinic/hospital group in the Netherlands with more than 100 employees. Dr. Verburgh’s hospital group worked in cooperation with the Veterinary School at Utrecht for the practical education of veterinary students in their clinical year and Dr Verburgh was involved in teaching postgraduate veterinarians at Utrecht University. Dr. Verburgh was chairman of the Royal Dutch Veterinary Companion Animal Association for 6 years, as well as member of the advisory board of the Ministry of Agriculture, amongst other public functions. At the end of 2009 Dr Verburgh left the Netherlands, to become co-owner of a referral hospital in Bavaria, Germany, were his work was focused on dentistry and surgery. In 2016 Dr Verburgh became faculty member at St Georges University in Grenada where he teached in the Department of Large Animal Medicine and Surgery. He joined the faculty at St. Matthews University in 2017 were he is currently teaching Farm Animal Medicine and Surgery as well as applied veterinary Parasitology.

Dr. Verburgh's research interests include dentistry, trace elements, and veterinary public health “one health - one medicine” with a strong focus on veterinary clinical relevancy.

Brandy Darby, D.V.M., M.P.H.

Associate Professor of Veterinary Clinical Sciences
D.V.M., Louisiana State University
M.P.H., Michigan State University

Brandy Darby graduated as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Louisiana State University in 2007. She spent three years in a busy mixed animal practice before transitioning to academia in 2010. At St. Matthew’s University, she has taught in a variety of subject areas, including: the large animal clinical skills program, production medicine, biomedical ethics, communication, comparative anatomy, and surgery. While working full-time, she obtained a Master’s in Public Health from Michigan State University in 2016, with a focus on communicable diseases.

In addition to teaching, Dr. Darby contributes to the local veterinary community through her leadership of the Cayman Islands Veterinary Medical Association. Regionally, she maintains positive affiliations with both the Caribbean Veterinary Medical Association and the EpiCore disease surveillance network. She also an active member of the Protection Starts Here working group: a multi-agency child abuse prevention project aimed at eradicating child abuse via community partnership, education, awareness, and advocacy.

Charles Dickinson, D.V.M., M.S. Diplomate ACVIM

Professor of Equine Medicine
D.V.M. Colorado State University
M.S. Colorado State University
Diplomate ACVIM

Dr. Dickinson received the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Colorado State University in 1988. After two years as an instructor with the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at Colorado State University, Dr. Dickinson became an associate veterinarian with Tri-State Large Animal Hospital in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He joined the staff at the Oregon State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital as a Clinical Fellow in large animal medicine and surgery in 1992. In 1996, Dr. Dickinson completed a residency in Equine Internal Medicine at Colorado State University, received the Master of Science degree in Clinical Sciences, and successfully completed the certifying examination of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. From 1996 to 2005, Dr. Dickinson was a faculty member with the Department of Clinical Sciences at Colorado State University, practicing and teaching equine internal medicine, critical care, neonatology and neurology at the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Dr. Dickinson's research interests and experience include zootoxicology, equine enteric clostridiosis, and equine endocrine-metabolic disease, among others.

Eric Dunayer, M.S, V.M.D., D.A.B.T., D.A.B.V.T.

Associate Professor of Clinical Sciences

M.S., Environmental Health and Sciences Drexel University, Philadelphia
V.M.D., School of Veterinary Medicine University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Dr. Eric Dunayer is a 1988 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. After 14 years in clinical practice (including 8 at an after-hours emergency clinic), he joined the staff of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center as a Consulting Veterinary in Clinical Toxicology in 2002. While there, he became board-certified in both general (ABT) and veterinary toxicology (ABVT) and was promoted to Senior Toxicologist. He is the author of numerous book chapters and scientific papers, including several original reports on xylitol toxicosis in dogs. He became a full-time faculty member at St. Matthew’s University (SMU) School of Veterinary Medicine in January 2011 where he teaches Toxicology and Clinical Pathology. Prior to that, he was adjunct faculty and taught Toxicology at University of Illinois and SMU and an instructor at Atlantic Veterinary College on Prince Edward Island, Canada. Dr. Dunayer also is a consulting toxicologist at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.

Samantha Shields, D.V.M.

Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Assistant Professor of Clinical Sciences
D.V.M., St. George's University, Grenada
Date of appointment: May 2007

Dr. Shields graduated from St. George’s University and completed her clinical year at University of Florida in 2004. Prior to joining the faculty in May 2007, she worked for Hill’s Pet Nutrition. Previously, she had worked within the terrestrial and education department at Boatswains Beach, in Grand Cayman and for a small animal practice in Canada. She has a strong interest and experience in small animal nutrition and marine mammal medicine. She co-coordinates the MARVET (marine veterinary medicine) Cayman program and the SMOLE (St. Matthew’s Orientation and Leadership Experience) program at SMU.

Elanor Withnall, B.V.Sc., M.A.C.V.S.

Associate Professor, Anesthesiology and Clinical Pathology
B.V.Sc, University of Queensland

Dr. Withnall received her veterinary degree from The University of Queensland in Australia before working and traveling around the world. She practiced in general, mixed and emergency practice in both the United Kingdom and Australia before returning to academia. A Critical Care Small Animal Internship at Michigan State University was followed by a Transfusion Medicine Fellowship and then a Residency in Veterinary Anesthesia at the University of Pennsylvania. Although she loves the clinical practice of anesthesia, teaching students is her true passion so she was very pleased to take up a position at SMU teaching both anesthesia and pharmacology to veterinary students.

Veterinary Adjunct Faculty

Gary Butcher, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Biosciences staff at University of Florida
Date of appointment: November 2011

Dr. Butcher is a poultry specialist that teaches around the world to veterinary students and industry. He teaches poultry medicine, surgery and production and has authored over 100 scientific papers.

Alan Emsley, Ph.D.

Ph.D., University of Nebraska
Date of appointment: January 2007

Lori Gaskins, D.V.M., D.A.B.V.B., D.A.C.A.W.

Behavior Residency at UC Davis
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Behavior
Diplomate, American College of Animal Welfare
Date of Appointment: November 2007
Dr. Gaskins currently teaches animal welfare and behavior, and clinical behavioral medicine.

James Morrissey, D.V.M.

D.V.M., Cornell University
Kansas State University, Internship in Exotic Pet, Wildlife and Zoological Medicine
1995-1997: Animal Medical Center, New York, NY, Residency in Exotic Pet Medicine and Surgery
Board Certification: American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (Avian Practice)

Kevin David Pelzer, D.V.M., M.P.V.M.

D.V.M; Tuskegee Institute Tuskegee, Alabama
MPVM; University of California, Davis.
Date of appointment: August 2010

Brian Poteet, D.V.M., DACVR

D.V.M., Texas A and M University
Date of appointment: January 2007

Teaches Diagnostic Imaging.

Beverly J. Purswell, D.V.M., M.S., Ph.D., Diplomate, A.C.V.T.

D.V.M, University of Georgia
M.S. Immunology, University of Georgia
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Theriogenology
Ph.D., Immunology, University of Georgia

Teaches Small Animal Theriogenology

Mohamed Satti, Ph.D.

Professor of Veterinary Immunology and Parasitology
Ph.D., Institute of Medical Microbiol/Immunol, Copenhagen University
Date of appointment: January 2006

J. Alex Thomasson, D.V.M.

D.V.M. – Auburn University
U of FL Small Animal Medicine - Primary Care Relief Veterinarian
Veterinarian Leadership Institute – Facilitator

Teaches Veterinary Parasitology

Bobby Werner, D.V.M., D.A.C.V.R.

D.V.M, Texas A&M University
Board Certification: Veterinary Radiology