School of Veterinary and Life Science

Murdoch Veterinary Alumni

Professor Michael J Day

Professor Michael Day qualified as a veterinarian from Murdoch University in 1982. After a period in small animal practice he returned to Murdoch to complete a Residency in Microbiology and Immunology, and a PhD involving collaborative research with the Royal Perth Hospital. Michael held postdoctoral positions in experimental immunology at the Universities of Bristol and Oxford and in 1990 returned to Bristol where he is currently Professor of Veterinary Pathology. His research focuses largely on companion animal immune-mediated and infectious diseases. Michael has published over 300 peer reviewed scientific papers in the field of immunopathology and has authored or edited nine veterinary textbooks.

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    Michael is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Comparative Pathology, a member of the Petplan Charitable Trust Scientific Committee and co-founder of a university spin-out company, KWS Biotest Ltd., where he is Director of Pathology. He has been the recipient of the BSAVA Amoroso Award for outstanding contribution to small animal studies (1999), the BSAVA Petsavers Award (2000, 2006 & 2007), the RCVS Trust’s G. Norman Hall Medal for outstanding research into animal diseases (2003) and the Petplan Charitable Trust Scientific Award (2009).

    Michael has made significant contributions to the veterinary profession through voluntary work with the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) and the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA). He has spent 18 years on BSAVA committees, chairing the Scientific and Education Committees before becoming a member of the management Board and then President of the Association from 2013 to 2014. As Chair of Education he was responsible for developing a new programme of university-accredited postgraduate certificates for veterinarians in general practice.

    Through the WSAVA, Michael has had global impact on the advancement of the veterinary profession in developing countries. He was a member and chairman of the WSAVA Scientific Committee for 9 years and chairs the WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group, which provides international recommendations for the most effective means of protecting pets from infectious disease by vaccination. He chairs the WSAVA One Health Committee, which has had a major role in positioning companion animals within the global One Health agenda by engagement with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). Michael is Vice President of the WSAVA Foundation, a charity that raises funds for global development of the veterinary profession and is a founder member of the project board for the WSAVA African Small Companion Animal Surveillance Network (AFSCAN), which is having major impact on advancing small animal practice in Sub-Saharan Africa. Through BSAVA, he initiated a project board to establish and run a new annual veterinary congress that will rotate through the Eastern European countries from 2016. Michael is also a Trustee for the Journal of Comparative Pathology Educational Trust, which provides funding for young veterinary pathologists to attend conferences or undertake scientific exchange visits. Michael continues to lecture widely throughout the world, including delivering continuing education to veterinarians in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, Russia and South America.

    Michael is particularly committed to the global fight to eliminate canine rabies infection; a disease that kills an estimated 59,000 people each year, most of whom are children of the rural poor in Asia and Africa. AFSCAN and the WSAVA One Health Committee have engaged with several rabies control initiatives and in 2013 Michael organised and chaired a major global forum at OIE in Paris, during which the target was set to eliminate this disease from the world by 2030. Michael is also a Trustee for the Mission Rabies project, which has run remarkably successful rabies control programmes in Asia and Africa by vaccinating very large numbers of community owned dogs and providing education to school children about the disease and safe interaction with dogs. By directly targeting a major and preventable cause of death in the rural poor of developing countries, Michael’s work advances social justice for these vulnerable individuals.

    Professor Michael Day’s impressive career showcases the knowledge he acquired at Murdoch University and highlights his contributions to animal and human health; in particular, his role in improving professional veterinary standards and raising awareness of the importance of controlling canine rabies in developing countries.

Murdoch Veterinary Alumni

Dr Mark Schipp

In 2011 Mark Schipp was appointed Chief Veterinary Officer of Australia.

As Chief Veterinary Officer he represents Australia at the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) where he is also an elected member of the OIE Council.

Dr Schipp leads Australia’s national responses to emergency animal disease incursions. He works to strengthen the veterinary services of countries in our region so they are able to detect and respond to emerging infectious diseases of concern to both human and animal health. He has been active in leading Australian agriculture’s response to the global threat of antimicrobial resistance.

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    Mark Schipp studied both Biology and Veterinary Medicine and Surgery at Murdoch University, graduating in 1989. Since then he has been working to protect Australia from exotic disease incursions and seeking opportunities to expand market access for our livestock and animal products.

    After graduation Mark joined the Western Australia Department of Agriculture as a District Veterinary Officer where he advised farmers on livestock health and production, delivered field days, and boarded livestock vessels at sea to ensure they were clean before loading for live export.

    He then worked in export abattoirs in Western Australia, Victoria and Tasmania ensuring livestock presented for slaughter were healthy and the livestock products were suitable for export. Eventually he moved to Canberra to contribute to Australia’s export meat program at a national level.

    Mark was posted overseas for six years—in Seoul, South Korea and then in Beijing, China where he opened the Agriculture Counsellor post at the Australian Embassy, Beijing and negotiated new market access for Australian agricultural products.

Murdoch Veterinary Alumni

Paul Davey

Paul has been working as a Veterinarian for 20 years. He part-owns clinics in Wembley and Dalkeith and is very passionate not only about the wellbeing of animals, but also about the wellbeing of those who treat them;

In 1996, a newly graduated vet friend of Paul’s brother was due to start working for Paul, but the night before he committed suicide. Paul was devastated and vowed to stop others in the profession he loves falling victim to mental health problems and suicide.

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    According to current research, vet practice owners work more than 60 hours a week on average and new graduates work more than 45 hours a week. Vets have a tendency towards depression and suicide as a result of these long working hours, plus other factors, such as: poor remuneration compared to other professions, access to drugs that make it successful when they attempt suicide and also the fact that they are exposed to death in their patients far more frequently than a GP.

    Since then, Paul has long championed the need for personal support for veterinarians in their working lives and founded a mentoring and support service for graduates, the “Graduate Support Scheme”, run through the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA). The Scheme offers a protective net that a graduate can use in that first critical years, but it is also conceived to support veterinarians at all career stages.

    According to Paul, “Over the years it has become obvious that it is not just new graduates at risk of stress and burnout, but there seems to be a peak at two years [after graduation], again at around seven years and again at retirement age or thereabouts.” One of the biggest factors contributing to stress and burnout in veterinarians is euthanasia.

    His promotion of suicide prevention have touched the lives of many veterinarians and his devotion to this cause and to the wellbeing of animals has earned Paul one of the nation's highest honours – an Order of Australia medal. Officially recognised for his service to veterinary science, he was among the Western Australian recipients of the 2013 Queen's Birthday Honours. Paul dedicated the award to those who have supported and helped him along the way.

Murdoch Veterinary Alumni

Dr Claire Sharp

Claire is a senior lecturer in the College of Veterinary Medicine, School of Veterinary and Life Sciences. She completed her veterinary training at Murdoch, graduating with my BSc, BVMS (Hons), in 2002. After a few years in private general and emergency practice in Canberra, she moved to the United States to pursue specialty training. Claire completed a Rotating Small Animal Medicine and Surgery Internship at Oklahoma State University (2004-2005), followed by a Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care Internship at the University of Missouri (2005-2006). She then stayed on at the University of Missouri to complete a Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care Residency and a Master’s degree in Veterinary Clinical Sciences (2006-2009). Thereafter, she became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care and took a faculty position at the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in North Grafton, Massachusetts where she worked from 2009-2015. She returned to Murdoch for an academic position in July 2015.

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    Her academic work involves clinical service, teaching and research. She does clinical service in the Emergency and Critical Care division of The Animal Hospital at Murdoch University. Her clinical interests include the management of sepsis, respiratory distress, trauma, gastric dilatation and volvulus amongst many other emergency and critical care diseases. She is particularly challenged by the management of dogs and cats with multiple organ dysfunction syndrome.

Murdoch Veterinary Alumni

Dr Jonica Newby

Jonica Newby is a science writer, broadcaster and former veterinarian. While her days of trying to read the minds of furry patients are long gone, she remains fascinated by the lives of animals. After receiving a first class honours veterinary degree from Murdoch University, she spent three years in veterinary practice before joining the Petcare Information and Advisory Service. During her six years with PIAS, Dr Newby pursued her interest in anthrozoology and the origins of the human – animal bond, while developing a science writing career on the side.

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    In 1998, she made journalism and broadcasting her full time profession. She is a regular contributor to The Science Show on ABC’s Radio National, a feature writer for Newton magazine, and former science editor and chief journalist for The Veterinarian. From 1996 – 1999, Dr Newby was a member of the Board of the Australian Veterinary Association.

    Born in Oxford in 1967, and raised in Perth, Dr Newby spent many of her childhood holidays on her grandparent’s farm in Harvey, in the south-west of Western Australia

    Before joining Catalyst, she wrote and presented The Animal Attraction, a five part series for ABC TV on the domestication of animals. She is also author of an ABC book of the same name, and a contributor to various science media in Australia.

    In 2001, Jonica became a founding member of the Catalyst team, since then her reporting interests have broadened considerably. From the future of oil to the frontiers of space to the intricate workings of the human brain, Jonica presents dynamic science stories about advances that shape our lives.

    In 2006, and again in 2011, she was awarded Australia’s premier science journalism prize, the Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Science Journalism.

Murdoch Veterinary Alumni

Dr Polly Smith

Polly came from the UK in 2001 to study veterinary science at Murdoch University. She was a Murdoch graduate and University medallist in 2005 and won a number of prizes including:

  • University Medal for top student in the Veterinary Science Course, 2005
  • Australian Small Animal Veterinary Association Prize in Clinical Proficiency, 2005
  • Westralian Drug Company Pty Ltd Prize for Undergraduates, 2005
  • Adamson Prize in Equine Medicine and Surgery, 2005
  • Vice-Chancellor’s Commendation for Academic Excellence, 2005
  • Vice-Chancellor’s Commendation for Academic Excellence, 2004
  • Australian Veterinary Association Prize for Undergraduates, 2004
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    Following graduation, Polly initially returned to work in general mixed practice in Skeldale Veterinary Centre, North Yorkshire during 2006-7.

    From 2007 to 2009 Polly worked as a Consultant to Murdoch University to manage an AusAID/Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry, Australia (DAFF) Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary Capacity Building Project in Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar. During this time, Polly was based with the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) Southeast Asia Foot and Mouth Disease (SEAFMD) Campaign in Bangkok.

    The research conducted for this project also formed the basis for her PhD at Murdoch University that was carried out from 2007 to 2012 with a scholarship from the Australian Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre. The topic was “Epidemiological and risk based approaches to progressing FMD free zone status in Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar” and supervisors were Prof Ian Robertson, Dr Ronello Abila, Dr Peter Black and Prof John Edwards.

    In addition to pursuing her research, Polly was active in the regional program (SEAFMD) and gained invaluable experience working with developing countries and international organisations. She quickly gained a reputation for her expertise and the ability to work with people from a range of countries and this has led to her current work in international animal and public health.

    On completion of her PhD Polly returned to her home in Northamptonshire in the UK where she combined worked in mixed practice with establishing a family.

    Polly has resumed her strong interest in international work and has been doing short term consultancies for international organisations. These include work on:

    • A technical manual supporting the OIE SEACFMD Roadmap (strategic framework to control, prevent and eradicate foot and mouth disease in South-East Asia and China).
    • An FAO project on enhancing meat exports in Mongolia
    • A study on large ruminant movement and market chains in the Greater Mekong Sub-region for OIE SEACFMD.
    • Training on priority trans boundary animal diseases in Mongolia. Asia Development Bank (ADB) project on joint control of trans boundary animal diseases in PR China and Mongolia
    • A World Bank Project on international technical assistance on outbreak investigation procedures for brucellosis, echinococcosis and anthrax in Mongolia.
    • An Asia Development Bank (ADB) project on joint control of transboundary animal diseases in PR China and Mongolia.
    • Polly will also shortly be commencing a risk assessment study on livestock movements in South-East Asia and China for the OIE SEACFMD (South-East Asia and China Foot and Mouth Disease Campaign).