Internal Medicine

Monica Aleman

Department of Medicine & Epidemiology; VMTH: Large Animal Clinic (see also: Genetics, Neurology)

Dr. Monica Aleman obtained her veterinary degree at the University UNAM-Mexico. She completed residencies in large animal internal medicine (equine emphasis) and neurology and neurosurgery at UC Davis; and achieved board certification for both specialties by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. She completed a PhD in comparative pathology of neuromuscular diseases at UC Davis. Her research and clinical interest has focused in neurology, neuromuscular and muscle disorders in all species with equine emphasis. Currently, she is a faculty member of the equine internal medicine and neurology services, and Director of the Neuromuscular Disease Laboratory at UC Davis. Dr. Aleman is one of the founding members of the Comparative Neurology Research Group, and is affiliated with the Clinical Neurophysiology Laboratory at UC Davis. Dr. Aleman is author of over 90 peer reviewed medical publications, over 100 proceedings and abstracts, and over 25 book chapters; and is a regular speaker in national and international meetings. Currently, she works in the investigation of neuromuscular disorders in multiple species including humans.

For more information, please contact Dr. Aleman at

Ching-Hsien (Jean) Chen, PhD

SOM: Nephrology/Internal Medicine (See also: Biochemistry/Cell Biology, Oncology)

Dr. Chen’s research strives to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying cancer malignancy and thereby identify useful biomarkers and/or druggable targets. She seeks to develop peptide-based therapeutics to mitigate cancer metastasis and drug resistance by targeting aberrant oncogenic signaling. Research in her laboratory focuses on how the phospholipids such as PIP2 and PIP3 are regulated during the development of malignancies and inflammatory diseases.

Potential summer research projects: 1) examine the feasibility of phospholipid retention strategies for cancer immunotherapy. This project will use genetic manipulations and pharmacological approaches to elucidate mechanisms of tumor immune evasion and develop targeted therapies for increasing the efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitors; 2) characterize the mechanisms of cancer stemness in order to discover therapeutic targets for combating cancer progression and overcoming drug resistance. This study will help the development of novel treatments that destroy cancer stem-like cells without adversely affecting self-renewal of normal stem cells.

Please visit Dr. Chen's website at:

Meera Heller DVM, PhD, DACVIM

VM: Medicine & Epidemiology 

(See also: Immunology/Infectious Disease, Food Animal Medicine & Food Safety)

I’m an Assistant Professor of Clinical Livestock Medicine and Surgery (C barn).   My research interests lie in the area of immunology and infectious disease, specifically in the areas of innate immune response and juvenile immunity.  My research goals are to improve prevention and treatment of calfhood disease, or disease in neonates of any species.  My clinical expertise is in internal medicine and surgery of ruminants and swine, and I have a special interest in cattle and goats.  Potential research projects include bench-top projects working with bovine bacterial pathogens in the lab, field research on a novel approach to prevention pink eye in cattle,  field research to document a vector borne disease  in goat populations in northern California, and clinically important retrospective studies using the VMACS database.  I am also open to project ideas from students, and am happy to help you craft a research question that fits your interests.

Please contact Dr. Heller via email at

Lynelle Johnson DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVIM

Small animal respiratory medicine

VM: Department of Medicine & Epidemiology

Dr. Johnson is a small animal internist with a special focus in respiratory diagnostics and respiratory diseases of dogs and cats. She has a 50% clinic appointment in the VMTH and a research laboratory in Tupper Hall with capabilities for western blotting, polymerase chain reaction, microdissection, and vascular phyiosiology. Recent projects have focused on infectious and inflammatory respiratory diseases of dogs and cats, diagnostic imaging, and respiratory endoscopy.

Current STAR Projects:  

2016:  JC Chan, LR Johnson, CS Brown, RE Pollard.  Fluoroscopic estimation of thoracic dimensional changes in healthy dogs.

2016:  EA Malcom, LC Visser, LR Johnon.  Comparison of radiographic and echocardiographic assessment of left atrial size in dogs with and without left atrial enlargement.

Previous STAR publications:

DA Kogan, LR Johnson, BK Sturges, KE Jandrey, RE Pollard. Etiology and clinical outcome in dogs with aspiration pneumonia:  88 cases (2004-2006). Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 233(11): 1748-1755, 2008.
DA Kogan, LR Johnson, KE Jandrey, RE Pollard.  Clinicopathologic and radiographic findings in dogs with aspiration pneumonia: 88 cases (2004-2006). Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 233(11): 1642-1747, 2008.
RC Windsor, LR Johnson, JE Sykes, TL Drazenovich, CM Leutenegger, HEV De Cock.  Molecular detection of microbes in nasal biopsies of dogs with idiopathic lymphoplasmacytic rhinitis. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 20: 250-256, 2006.


Please visit Dr. Johnson's website at: