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Our Team

Dr Justine Smith

BSc (Hons) BVSc (Hons) GCertSAECC

Poisons Information Consultant

Justine has worked as a veterinarian in a broad range of settings, from small animal urban practices to large animal mixed practice in rural NSW. Her passion, however, lies in emergency practice and management of toxicological emergencies is an integral part of that work. After graduating from the University of Queensland in 2002, Justine completed an internship rotating between medicine, surgery and emergency work at a large specialist hospital in Sydney. She now has 16 years’ experience working in vet emergency and critical care units at various specialist hospitals in Sydney. Justine has a special interest in the topic since being inspired by lectures on the topic while studying at UQ, and working with the team at the Animal Poisons Centre fits squarely within Justine’s passion and expertise.

Dr Kaitlyn Iversen

BAnimSc, BVetBiol/BVSc, GCertSAECC

Poisons Information Consultant

Kaitlyn developed a passion for veterinary care in early high school when her six-month-old puppy was diagnosed with epilepsy. She graduated from Charles Sturt University and began her career as a small animal veterinarian in Canberra. After a brief stint in general practice, Kaitlyn found her true calling in emergency and critical care; helping families navigate the uncertainties of a medical crisis.

She has completed postgraduate studies in this field and hopes to sit membership exams in the future. From her clinical experience and continuing education, Kaitlyn has developed a strong interest in toxicology, so working with the Animal Poisons Centre was the logical next step in her career. She is excited to share cases with pet owners and fellow veterinarians, ensuring pets of Australasia receive the most up-to-date care.

Dr Kaitlyn Iversen

BAnimSc, BVetBiol/BVSc, GCertSAECC

Poisons Information Consultant

Kaitlyn developed a passion for veterinary care in early high school when her six-month-old puppy was diagnosed with epilepsy. She graduated from Charles Sturt University and began her career as a small animal veterinarian in Canberra. After a brief stint in general practice, Kaitlyn found her true calling in emergency and critical care; helping families navigate the uncertainties of a medical crisis.

She has completed postgraduate studies in this field and hopes to sit membership exams in the future. From her clinical experience and continuing education, Kaitlyn has developed a strong interest in toxicology, so working with the Animal Poisons Centre was the logical next step in her career. She is excited to share cases with pet owners and fellow veterinarians, ensuring pets of Australasia receive the most up-to-date care.

Kasra Ahmadi

BPharm FANZCAP (Toxicol.)

Clinical Toxicology Pharmacist, Director

Kasra is a registered pharmacist who has undergone training in the area of toxicology and poisons information at the very start of his professional career. What attracted Kasra most into his chosen field, was the need to combine both specialised knowledge with critical decision making. Kasra is also a current Therapeutic Guidelines expert group member in the area of toxicology and toxinology.

With over 12 years’ experience working in Poisons Centres, Kasra has provided risk assessment and poisoning management advice for over 50,000 cases relating to pharmaceuticals, drugs of abuse, agricultural products, industrial and domestic chemicals, venomous bites and stings, chemicals and other hazardous substances. Kasra is passionate about the role that poison centres play in improving patient outcomes through provision of up-to date and evidence-based practices.

Kasra’s other interests have been in the areas of operations and management, having had over 10 years’ experience in pharmaceutical and healthcare management and ownership.

After his own dog was accidently poisoned whilst he was away on holidays, he felt compelled to assist and play a pivotal role in the management of poisoned animals in Australia.

Kelvin Cao

BPharm MPH FANZCAP (AddMed., Toxicol.)

Clinical Toxicology Pharmacist

Kelvin graduated with a Bachelor of Pharmacy in 2011 and has spent the last decade working in hospitals and health services throughout New South Wales and the Northern Territory. In 2016, Kelvin spent 12 months volunteering in the Solomon Islands helping to train pharmacists in clinical pharmacy and collaborating with local colleagues to improve medication processes and health promotion campaigns.

Kelvin has a wide range of clinical interests which led to him undergoing further training as a Specialist in Poisons Information, working in one of the busiest Poisons Information Centres in Australia.

Kelvin is passionate about improving clinical practice standards and outcomes for poisoned animals through the provision of high quality, evidence-based advice to pet owners and veterinarians in Australia and New Zealand.

Kelvin Cao

BPharm MPH FANZCAP (AddMed., Toxicol.)

Clinical Toxicology Pharmacist

Kelvin graduated with a Bachelor of Pharmacy in 2011 and has spent the last decade working in hospitals and health services throughout New South Wales and the Northern Territory. In 2016, Kelvin spent 12 months volunteering in the Solomon Islands helping to train pharmacists in clinical pharmacy and collaborating with local colleagues to improve medication processes and health promotion campaigns.

Kelvin has a wide range of clinical interests which led to him undergoing further training as a Specialist in Poisons Information, working in one of the busiest Poisons Information Centres in Australia.

Kelvin is passionate about improving clinical practice standards and outcomes for poisoned animals through the provision of high quality, evidence-based advice to pet owners and veterinarians in Australia and New Zealand.

Nick Merwood

BSc MPharm FANZCAP (Toxicol.)

Clinical Toxicology Pharmacist, Director

Graduating with a Master of Pharmacy, Nick’s interest in clinical toxicology led him to a role as a Specialist in Poisons Information in 2009. Nick has experienced poisons centre training and managerial roles, including being appointed as the acting Head of Department of his home-state poisons centre.

Over the last decade Nick has continually grown more fascinated with toxicology and has experienced poison centre clinical roles in both Australia and overseas. In 2017, Nick was contracted as a consultant to assist in establishing a new poison centre in a state-of-the-art facility in Doha, Qatar. During his time in Doha, Nick worked alongside internationally recognised clinical staff in developing operational and clinical management guidelines and was instrumental in establishing the countries first poisons register.

Nick has a thirst for knowledge and is driven by the need to improve morbidity and mortality outcomes through evidence-based practices. As an experienced Poisons Specialist at the Australian Animal Poisons Centre, Nick has a passion for animal welfare and strives to continually improve the management of poisoned animals in Australasia.

Pooja Mehta

BSc MPharm ANZCAP-Reg. (Toxicol.)

Clinical Toxicology Pharmacist

Graduating with a Master of Pharmacy, Pooja’s passion and interest in clinical toxicology developed when she began her role as a specialist in poisons information.

Pooja Is extremely motivated to further her professional development in toxicology and provide evidence based practices to all her patients. Her experiences as a poisons information specialist and her love for animals has cultivated her interest in veterinary toxicology. She is driven to improve the health outcomes of poisoned animals and strives to continually improve her knowledge in the management of animal poisonings.

Pooja Mehta

BSc MPharm ANZCAP-Reg. (Toxicol.) 

Clinical Toxicology Pharmacist

Graduating with a Master of Pharmacy, Pooja’s passion and interest in clinical toxicology developed when she began her role as a specialist in poisons information.

Pooja Is extremely motivated to further her professional development in toxicology and provide evidence based practices to all her patients. Her experiences as a poisons information specialist and her love for animals has cultivated her interest in veterinary toxicology. She is driven to improve the health outcomes of poisoned animals and strives to continually improve her knowledge in the management of animal poisonings.

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Dr Ashvin Vasuthevan

BVSc

Poisons Information Consultant

Ashvin moved to Australia in 2008 to pursue his dream of becoming a veterinarian. He graduated from the University of Sydney in 2012 and has worked in small animal practice since then. Starting off in a busy general practice, he soon went into the field of emergency and critical care and practiced as an emergency veterinarian for 6 years in various big specialist and emergency hospitals in Adelaide and Sydney. He now works a mix of both general practice and in emergency and critical care. While working in the field of emergency, he discovered a passion for the field of toxicology, and continues to build experience in this field. He is excited to be a part of the Animal Poisons Centre so he can use his passion to help pets and their owners.

Our Contributors

Dr Rhian Cope

BVSC BSc (Hons) PhD DABT DABVT FACTRA

Principal Toxicologist, APVMA

While Dr Cope is a veterinarian by training (1989, University of Queensland) she has spent most of her professional career as a toxicologist. Following obtaining her veterinary qualification Dr Cope pursued further training as a radiation toxicologist/photobiologist (PhD, University of Sydney 1996).

She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology, a Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Toxicology, a Fellow of the Australasian College of Toxicology and Risk Assessment and a registered specialist in Veterinary Toxicology in NSW. Dr Cope has held academic positions at the University of Illinois and at Oregon State University. Currently Dr Cope is the Principal Toxicologist for the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines authority and an Associate Professor at the University of New England.

Dr Andrew Padula

Dr Andrew Padula is a veterinarian with over 25 years of experience in veterinary research, industry, and clinical practice. Andrew has had a long fascination with venomous creatures and the application of the life sciences to treat their potentially lethal effects. Andrew holds a PhD from the University of Melbourne and is currently an honorary senior research fellow within the Australian Venom Research Unit at the University of Melbourne. He holds a European veterinary specialist qualification in production animal reproduction and medicine. Andrew has published numerous papers on snakebite in domestic animals and tick paralysis.

Dr Tom May

Dr Tom May is a mycologist at Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria with more than three decades experience in fungal taxonomy. He is an Honorary Consultant to the Victorian Poisons Information Centre and serves on a number of international committees, including the International Commission on the Taxonomy of Fungi. He has published widely on fungal taxonomy, ecology and conservation, including checklists of Australian fungi and the book Wild Mushrooming.