Our 2021 speakers

A fabulous line-up of presenters to cover topics from racetrack medicine, sport horse medicine and surgery to infectious diseases.

Registrations now open!

Albert Sole Guitart

After graduation from the Autonomous University of Barcelona in 2007, Albert did an internship at the University of Guelph, Canada followed by a private practice internship at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Kentucky. Albert moved to the University of California, Davis for his surgical training where he stayed and worked as an Equine Surgical Specialist for a further two years. After that, Albert moved to Australia in 2014 and worked at Camden Equine Centre, University of Sydney for almost 3 years before joining the University of Queensland. Albert is a specialist in equine surgery, and he became board certified by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in February 2013.

Alex Young

Alex is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Radiology and registered specialist in Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging having trained for 6 years at the University of California, Davis. She completed a rigorous 2 year fellowship in Large Animal Ultrasound during this time and although she is trained as a veterinary radiologist for all species, Alex’s primary interest remains equine musculoskeletal imaging. Alex currently works part time as a Senior Lecturer in Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging at the University of Queensland and part time as a private consultant equine teleradiologist. She thoroughly enjoys training veterinary students and practitioners in various imaging techniques as well as the value of a multi-modality approach to the more challenging clinical cases.

Andres Diaz Mendez

Andrés is a lecturer at The University of Melbourne who earned his veterinary degree from the Universidad de La Salle in Bogotá, Colombia. After moving to Canada in 1999, he pursued his postgraduate education at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, where he earned his MSc in clinical studies in 2006 working on equine respiratory viruses and a PhD in veterinary virology in 2012 focused on the picornavirus equine rhinitis A virus. Andrés then continued as a postdoctoral fellow at the Firestone Equine Respiratory Research Laboratory at the University of Guelph until his relocation to Melbourne in 2014.

Ben Ahern

Ben is a UQ Vet School graduate who grew up in south east Queensland. The son of local veterinarians Trevor and Sue, Ben travelled abroad for his surgical training at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Centre. While there he completed a fellowship in comparative orthopaedic research in addition to an internship and residency in equine surgery. On returning to Australia Ben was a surgeon at Randwick Equine Centre in Sydney for four years. After a short period in Adelaide Ben has returned to UQ.

Chris O'Sullivan

Chris graduated from the University of Sydney and stayed on completing an internship at Camden. He joined the Randwick Equine Centre in 1997 and in mid2000 left to further his training in surgery undertaking a residency at The Ohio
State University in the USA. Chris obtained specialist status in the USA returning to Randwick Equine Centre in 2003, becoming a partner in 2008. Chris has multiple first author publications and a text book chapter. Chris services Sydney racetracks and is predominately based in the hospital at Randwick. He also travels as a consultant to NSW Southern Highlands and South Coast.

Cristy Seacombe

Associate Professor Cristy Secombe’s current role is the Clinical Director of veterinary teaching hospital at Murdoch University. She has spent the majority of her career in equine academic practice at Murdoch and is a registered specialist in
equine medicine. Cristy’s research interests are centred around non-infectious equine respiratory disease, equine endocrine disease, clinical veterinary education and attrition. Cristy enjoys contributing to the profession through provision of continuing education, presentation and publication of research and contribution to professional associations.

David Ahern

Dr David Ahern qualified as a veterinarian from the University of Queensland in 1998. After starting his career as an equine vet in the Shepparton area of Victoria, he worked in several Queensland equine practices before founding the Scenic Rim Veterinary Service in the TB breeding area of Beaudesert. Dr Ahern remains a director of this mainly reproduction and surgery based equine practice, which performs over 1000 general anaesthetic surgical procedures annually. His clinical interests include laparoscopic, orthopaedic and soft tissue surgery and he has published a number of journal articles in these fields.

James Gilkerson

James Gilkerson is an internationally recognised expert in veterinary virology and microbiology. Professor Gilkerson is a graduate of the University of Sydney and has been a faculty member at the Melbourne Veterinary School since 2002. Professor Gilkerson’s research is predominantly in the area of host-pathogen interaction and the epidemiology of infectious disease, with a focus on equine infectious diseases. In recent years this research has included the use of big data to describe antimicrobial use in veterinary practice and antimicrobial stewardship in the veterinary sector. James is an EVA past-President and is a Fellow of the Australian Veterinary Association.

Jess Partlow

Jessica graduated from Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2010 and completed her internship at Mid-Atlantic Equine Medical Center in New Jersey. Jessica then completed her residency in equine surgery at North Carolina State University and Mid-Atlantic Equine Medical Center. Certified as a boarded equine surgeon by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2017. Jessica has since worked for the Scone Equine Group and is now working at Randwick Equine Specialists in Sydney. Jessica’s interest includes laparoscopic surgery, soft tissue and orthopedic surgery, implications in assistive diagnostic imaging in the surgical suite as well as equine ophthalmology.

Joan Carrick

Joan is Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Large Animal) and a registered specialist in Equine Medicine with a special interest in prevention of equine pregnancy loss. Joan graduated from the University of Queensland’s Veterinary School in 1981. Post graduate training includes first-class honours in Equine Medicine, a residency in Large Animal Medicine and a MVSc. at the WCVM, University Saskatchewan, Canada, a PhD from University of Georgia, and a critical care fellowship at University of Tennessee Medical School. Joan is currently a specialist consultant who manages high risk pregnant mares and investigates equine pregnancy loss.

Josh Slater

Josh Slater is Professor of Veterinary Medicine at the Melbourne Veterinary School where is Head of Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences. He is a past president of the British Equine Veterinary Association, the European College of Equine Internal Medicine and the Federation of European Equine Veterinary Associations and was secretary to the European Board of Veterinary Specialisation. He was biosecurity advisor for the 2008 and 2012 Equestrian Olympic Games, and the 2014 and 2018 World Equestrian Games. He is a co-director of the British Animal Rescue Trauma Association and is chairman of the Horse Trust in the UK.

Kirsten Bailey

Kirsten completed her veterinary degree at the University of Queensland in 2000 and worked in mixed practices in Victoria and the United Kingdom before completing an equine internship at the University of Melbourne. Following her internship, Kirsten worked in equine practice in Victoria and became a member of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in equine medicine. After 10 years in practice, Kirsten undertook a PhD at the University of Melbourne, investigating infectious causes of diarrhoea in Australian foals. Now, as a research fellow, Kirsten investigates patterns of antibiotic use and explores strategies to improve antimicrobial stewardship in veterinary practice.

Kirsten Neil

Dr Kirsten Neil graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1996. After 3 years in private practice, Kirsten completed an internship in the Scone Veterinary Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit followed by a residency in equine medicine at Michigan State University in 2004, where she completed a Masters degree in equine osteoarthritis. Kirsten is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and a registered specialist in equine medicine. Kirsten has a special interest in musculoskeletal ultrasonography and became a certified member of the International Society of Equine Locomotor Pathology (ISELP) in 2012. Kirsten became a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation in 2013. Kirsten is currently the FEI National Head Veterinarian for Australia, was a member of the veterinary commission for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and is the vice chair of the FEI Veterinary Committee.

Kristopher Hughes

Kris graduated from the University of Sydney in 1995 and undertook an equine medicine residency there between 1999 and 2004. He subsequently worked at the University of Glasgow, before returning to Australia in 2009. He is currently a professor of equine medicine and clinical director at Charles Sturt University. His research interests include disorders of the lower airways, gastrointestinal disease, equine cardiology, equine neurology and intensive care of horses. He is a Fellow of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists, a diplomate of the European College of Equine Internal Medicine and a proud supporter of the Collingwood football team.

Leanne Begg

Leanne graduated from UQ in 1987. She completed an internship at the University of Sydney in 1988. She worked at Randwick Equine Centre (REC) from 1989 to 1991 and completed a residency in Equine Medicine at MSU from 1991 to 1994. In 1994 she received a Masters and become a Member of the ANZCVS in Equine Medicine. In 1995, Leanne became a Diplomate of the ACVIM and was registered as a Specialist in Equine Medicine. She has been Gai Waterhouse’s stable veterinarian for the last 19 years and consults on medical cases at the REC Specialist Equine Centre.

Meredith Flash

After graduating from the University of Melbourne (2006), Meredith Flash worked in equine racing and performance practice. She developed an interest in where horses went after retiring from racing through her work. This has shaped her research focus as the lead researcher for The Australian Thoroughbred Wellbeing Project, which investigates barriers to entering training and drivers of retirement for Thoroughbreds in Australia.

Michelle McArthur

Dr Michelle McArthur BA (Psych) Hons, D (Clin) Psych is an Associate Professor in the School of Animal and Veterinary Science at the University of Adelaide. She developed and leads the clinical communication and wellbeing program across the veterinary science degrees. She is called upon nationally and internationally to provide skills-based communication workshops as well as mental health and wellbeing seminars. She actively researches and publishes in the field of human-animal relationships, communication and wellbeing in veterinary medicine. In her spare time, she loves being with her family, traveling and cooking.

Rachel Salz

Rachel completed a Neuroscience degree at Edinburgh University before attending the Royal Veterinary College in London. She graduated as a veterinary surgeon in 2009 and moved to Sydney to undertake an internship at Randwick Equine
Centre. Following her internship she enjoyed two years of predominantly racetrack work. Having been a keen event rider herself, she then developed the sports horse aspect of the practice. Rachel completed a residency to become a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation in 2016. She is now a Senior Associate at REC Equine Specialists. Her main interests are lameness, diagnostic imaging and rehabilitation.