Faculty / Staff
Karen Vernau, DVM, MAS, DACVIM - Chief of Service
Dr. Karen Vernau completed three years of an honors BSc degree before acceptance into veterinary school. She received her DVM degree with distinction from the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph in 1991. After graduation, she worked in a small animal practice in Canada for one year before moving to Sydney, Australia. In Sydney, she was a small animal practitioner in two large practices until 1994. She moved to California in 1994 in order to complete a residency at UC Davis. In 1997, the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine's graduating class awarded her the Favorite Small Animal Resident Award. That same year, Dr. Vernau becamed board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in neurology. In 2006, she completed a Master's degree in clinical research. She is currently an associate professor of clinical neurology/neurosurgery and chief of the Neurology/Neurosurgery Service. Dr. Vernau's research interests include inflammatory brain disease, cerebrospinal fluid, metabolic encephalopathies and brain tumors. She has three mixed-breed dogs (Bessie, Bean and Joey).
Peter Dickinson, BVSc, PhD, DACVIM
Dr. Pete Dickinson obtained his veterinary degree (BVSc) from the University of Liverpool in 1989, following by a surgical internship at the University of Glasgow, which he completed in 1993. In 1995, he completed a PhD with the Applied Neurobiology Group at the University of Glasgow. Dr. Dickinson completed a neurology/neurosurgery residency in 2000, and achieved board certification the same year. He is currently an associate professor of neurology/neurosurgery, and is the director of the Petersen Brain Tumor Laboratory. Dr. Dickinson's research interests are neurooncology and the development and translation of novel therapeutic strategies for primary brain tumors.
Marguerite Knipe, DVM, DACVIM
Dr. Marguerite Knipe was born and raised in Redondo Beach, California. She received her DVM from UC Davis, followed by a one-year rotating internship at Purdue University. She completed her residency in neurology/neurosurgery at UC Davis, and has remained on staff as an associate veterinarian, training resident veterinarians and students. She is currently a health sciences assistant clinical professor. Dr. Knipe has worked as a specialist in private practice at the Animal Care Center in Rohnert Park, California, and was recently a locum at the University of Wisconsin – Madison's Neurology/Neurosurgery Service. She co-edited the 2008 Veterinary Clinics of North America: Exotic Animal Practice – Neuroanatomy and Neurodiagnostics. Dr. Knipe's research interests include disc disease, spinal fractures/instability and brain tumors.
Rick LeCouteur, BVSc, PhD, DECVN
Dr. Rick LeCouteur received his veterinary degree (BVSc) in 1975 from the University of Sydney in Australia. After a year in small animal practice in Sydney, he did an internship and a residency in small animal surgery at the University of Guelph in Canada (1976 to 1978). Subsequently, he completed a residency in neurology/neurosurgery and a PhD in comparative pathology at UC Davis. From 1984 to 1989, he served on the faculty at Colorado State University. In 1989, he returned to Australia, and established a neurology/neurosurgery specialty practice in Sydney. Dr. LeCouteur returned to the United States in 1995 to assume the position of professor of neurology/neurosurgery at UC Davis. Dr. LeCouteur is a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Neurology. His research interests include brain tumors and neuromuscular disease. Dr. LeCouteur has three orange cats (Sam, Obie and Benito).
Beverly Sturges, DVM, DACVIM
Dr. Bev Sturges completed a BS with high honors from Andrews University in 1980. From 1980 to 1981, Dr. Sturges was a graduate researcher in immunoparasitology. She received her DVM degree cum laude from Oregon State University in 1986. Dr. Sturges practiced mixed animal medicine and surgery between 1986 and 1988 and small animal medicine and surgery from 1988 to 1991. She then moved to Sydney, Australia, where she was a small animal practitioner between 1991 and 1995. Dr. Sturges returned to the United States in 1995, and completed a neurology/neurosurgery residency at UC Davis in 1998. That same year, she becamed board certified by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in neurology. Dr. Sturges is currently an associate professor of clinical neurology/neurosurgery. Her research interests include brain tumors, and intracranial and spinal neurosurgery. Dr. Sturges has two dogs, a Dachshund cross named Stewy and a mixed breed terrier named Reggie.
Chai-Fei Li, DVM - Resident I
Dr. Chai-Fei Li was born and raised in Hong Kong. She received a BA in Molecular and Cell Biology from UC Berkeley. Following completion of her undergraduate degree, Dr. Li participated in biomolecular research at UC San Francisco prior to attending veterinary school. In 2013, she obtained her DVM from Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. She then completed a medicine and surgery rotating internship at North Carolina State University prior to beginning her residency at UC Davis.
Jessica Rivera, DVM
Kathryn Winger, DVM - Resident III
Dr. Kathryn Winger is originally from Windsor, Ontario, Canada. She completed her DVM degree at the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph in 2010. She then completed a small animal rotating internship at Michigan Veterinary Specialists. Dr. Winger honed her skills through a neurology specialty internship at the Veterinary Specialty Hospital of San Diego, a very fulfilling experience. Dr. Winger was proud to join the neurology/neurosurgery residency program at UC Davis in 2012. During her spare time, she enjoys reading, shopping and lounging with her Himalayan cat Monet.
Danielle Zwueste, DVM
Kathy Pinkston - Patient Service Coordinator
Kathy earned her AS degree from Yuba College after attaining a 4.0 GPA upon completion of the Veterinary Technician program in 1996. She obtained a BS degree in microbiology with a minor in chemistry from California State University - Chico in 1999. Kathy started working for the VMTH in January 2000. She has worked in the areas of small animal nursing and surgery before joining the Neurology/Neurosurgery Service in August 2007.