William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital

Laboratory Staff


Photo: Julie Burges, BS, MS, Laboratory Manager

Julie Burges, BS, MS, Laboratory Manager

Julie Burges grew up in Augsburg and Bremerhaven, Germany, but calls Savannah, GA home. She has worked on and off in the veterinary world since 1991. In 1995, she took a break from veterinary medicine and did a stint in the Air Force and Air Force Reserve as a nurse and command post controller. Upon deciding animals were much better patients than humans, she returned to her roots by working in both private practice and academia in Missouri. She began working for UC Davis in September of 2007 as an Assistant Supervisor for Small Animal Nursing. She joined the Transfusion Medicine team in September of 2008, where she was responsible for the day-to- day operations of the blood bank and its personnel. Burges is a member of NAVTA, Society for Veterinary Behavior Technicians, Veterinary Cancer Society, and the American Society of Veterinary Dental Technicians. Her career interests include Veterinary Emergency Preparedness and Idiopathic Aplastic Anemia in felines. She has been in laboratory management at the VMTH since 2010 and currently serves as the Laboratory Manager.

Danielle Carrade Holt, PhD, Research and Development Analyst

Dr. Danielle Carrade Holt manages research accounts for the VMTH Clinical Laboratories, performs outreach marketing and program and test development. Her foray into veterinary medicine began in 2004 at IDEXX in West Sacramento, serving as the Hematology/Chemistry Lead Technician and LEAN Team Technician. She started at UC Davis in 2006, studying seroprevalence of Anaplasma phagocytophilum in dogs from California, Washington and Oregon, then transferred laboratories to work with Dr.Sean Owens and help establish the VMTH Transfusion Medicine Service. She received her Doctorate in Comparative Pathology from UC Davis and completed her post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology at UC Davis in October 2012. As a graduate student and postdoctoral researcher, Dr. Carrade Holt studied immunomodulation by equine mesenchymal stem cells and has published extensively in the field.


Jeanne Brown, CLS

Jeanne Brown was employed in San Diego at a hospital laboratory and the University of California – Davis Medical Center before beginning her job at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital in 1989. She has performed laboratory duties in every section of the Clinical Laboratory Services unit, but she has worked primarily in the hematology and immunology & virology laboratories.

Kaitlin (Kasey) Clark, BS

Kasey received her undergraduate degree, a BS in Psychobiology with a minor in Biological Sciences, at UC Davis in 2010. She started at the VMTH as a large animal surgical and radiological sciences intern in 2006, then transitioned into the field of research within the School of Veterinary Medicine in 2009. In the laboratory of Dr. Dori Borjesson, Kasey investigated the therapeutic use of mesenchymal stem cells in veterinary species. While still active in research, Kasey transferred to the VMTH Regenerative Medicine Laboratory in 2012 as a full time lab assistant.

Regina Cortez, BS, CLS

After receiving her bachelor's degree in microbiology from Cal Poly Pomona in 1979, Regina Cortez trained for one year at a hospital in San Jose, California before her licensure as a clinical laboratory scientist. She was hired in Clinical Laboratory Sciences in 1984, and spent 2 years in hematology prior to working primarily in the clinical chemistry laboratory.

Brittany Elizondo

Brittany Elizondo currently works as a technician in the Transfusion and Regenerative Medicine services.

Leontyne (Dyne) Hansing, BS

Dyne Hansing graduated in 1995 from UC Davis with a BS in Animal Science. She began her career at the VMTH in 1990 in Small Animal Nursing where she helped manage the canine blood donors. In 2008, she transitioned to the Transfusion Medicine service. Her passion is helping owners better communicate with and understand their canine companions.

Juliet Herrera, BS

Juliet Herrera earned her bachelor's degree in biology/physiology from San Francisco State University in 1985. From 1985 until 1994 she was a laboratory technician for Poultry Health Laboratories in Davis, California, producing vaccines and bacterins for large animals. Since 1992, Herrera has served as a hospital laboratory technician III in microbiology. Her training includes identification of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, and she is the sole technician running PCR and DNA sequencing for the microbiology unit.

Sasha Hickman-Beoshanz, BS

Sasha Hickman-Beoshanz graduated from CSU Fresno in 1994 with a BS in Animal Science. Prior to starting at the VMTH, she served as laboratory manager and IACUC chairperson at a biotech company that produced mono- and polyclonal antibodies. Sasha began at the VMTH in 1998 as a Large Animal ICU critical care technician. In 2011, she transferred to the Transfusion Medicine service where she is actively involved with blood banking for both small and large animals.

Robin Houston - BS, MS

Robin Houston received his BS degree in animal sciences at the University of California – Davis in 1977, then his Masters of Science degree in veterinary parasitology at Texas A & M University in 1980. In 1981, he returned to Davis. He has managed the parasite reference collection for the School of Veterinary Medicine and acted as teaching coordinator for the parasitology curriculum in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree program since 1981. In 2002, he joined the Clinical Laboratory Services team as clinical parasitologist, performing the majority of diagnostic tests requested through the hospital on a wide variety of patients, from malamutes to monk seals and Thoroughbreds to tree frogs.

Benrie N. Leonor, BS, CLS

Benrie Leonor started his career after graduating with a B.S. in Medical Technology in the Phillipines. After serving 7 years in the government hospital in the Phillipines, he moved to the U.S. where he has worked in both human and veterinary laboratories, including IDEXX for more than 2 years, prior to joining the VMTH Clinical Laboratory Services.

Karen Pacheco

Karen Pacheco was employed in the Microbiology Lab at Woodland Healthcare prior to joining the University of California-Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital Chemistry Lab in 2006. In September 2011, she transferred to Central Lab Receiving assisting in the development of this new service and providing processing support to the various units within Clinical Laboratory Services.

Eileen Samitz, MA, CLS

Eileen Samitz has worked in the field of veterinary microbiology since 1980. She as an AAS degree in veterinary science technology and is licensed as an Registered Veterinary Technician. Eileen is a Clinical Laboratory Scientist and is ASCP certified as a Clinical Medical Technologist with the American Society of Clinical Pathology. Eileen has a Master's degree in Microbiology from UCD, where her research focus was in veterinary microbiology under Ernst Biberstein, DVM, PhD. Currently, she works in the Microbiology, isolating, identifying and doing susceptibility testing on aerobic organisms and yeasts, and identifying clinical mold isolates. Interests include antimicrobial susceptibility testing, monitoring resistant organisms, and infectious disease control. Samitz has been a local volunteer fundraiser for the local SPCA and has coordinated the Mercer Clinic for the Pets of the Homeless holiday pet basket charity since 1998.

Paula Samuelsen, MPH, CLS

After earning a degree in biology in 1975, Paula Samuelsen spent 2 years as a science teacher in the Peace Corps. After her service, she studied laboratory medicine, served a 1-year internship in medical technology at Sutter Memorial Hospital and worked at Sutter General Hospital. She moved to Davis in 1983 and found her position in Clinical Laboratory Services. She gained experience in chemistry and hematology testing, and she contributed to the teaching of veterinary students in the clinical pathology rotation in their fourth year. In 2012, Paula completed a Master of Public Health degree. In addition
to her work in the VMTH Clinical Diagnostic Laboratories, she works as a health educator at CommuniCare Clinics in Davis and West Sacramento.

Omar Sarno, BS, CLS

Omar received his BS in Medical Technology from University of Santo Tomas in the Phillippines. For more than 20 years, he worked in a human clinical laboratory as a generalist before entering the veterinary clinical laboratory field at Antech Labs in Irvine, CA. Omar started at the VMTH in 2012, working mainly in the Chemistry and Hematology. Additionally, he is cross-trained in Microbiology to perform anaerobic culture.

Mahrokh Shooshtari, MS, CLS

Mahrokh Shooshtari has worked in the hematology department full time since 1999. Previously, she had a part-time position at the University of California – Davis and was affiliated full time with IDEXX laboratories for 11 years.

Marissa Simpson, BS

Marissa Simpson obtained a BS in Animal Science from Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo in 2005. Her emphasis and hands on experience with food animals, specifically cattle, guided her career path toward clinical diagnostics with jobs including: technician in bovine embryo transfer with Trans Ova Genetics, necropsy technician with experience in microbiology, parasitology and immunology at the Tulare branch of CAHFS. In 2007 she joined the staff at the VMTH in Microbiology. Simpson job duties include: isolating, identifying and performing susceptibility testing on aerobic and anaerobic organisms and supervising student lab assistants. She is also cross-trained in the immunology/virology service.

Joy Snipes, BS, CLS

After earning a bacteriology degree from the University of California – Davis in 1980, Joy spent a year training at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose. She moved back to Davis in 1981 to work at the Sacramento Blood Bank for a short time before accepting a position in the hematology laboratory at the University of California – Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. She held the position of hematology supervisor and currently works in multiple laboratories, including hematology, regenerative medicine and clinical chemistry.

Christina Steckley, BA

Christina Steckley received her BA in Biological Sciences from UC Davis in 2002. She worked for two years at IDEXX before moving to the VMTH Clinical Diagnostic Laboratories in 2004 where she serves primarily in the Hematology laboratory.

Eva Tamez-Trevino, MD, MS, PhD

After working for 10 years in a research laboratory in Mexico, Eva Tamez-Trevino spent several years at the medical and dental school of the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon, Mexico, as a lecturer to professional students. She currently works in the immunology and virology laboratories.

Heather Wiese, AS, BS

Heather Wiese earned her bachelor's degree at the University of California – Davis in 2003 and came to Clinical Laboratory Services in 2004. She has developed experience in both microbiology and immunology/virology. Since 2007, her work has focused on immunology and virology testing.