Vanessa Barrs, PhD

Vanessa Barrs

Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences

Adjunct Professor

Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences
Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
Ithaca, NY 14853


Research Interest

I motivate my teams to push new frontiers and achieve their personal best, driven by my passion for new knowledge and increased understanding of health and disease, and through practical problem-solving, mentoring and lateral thinking. A dynamic, innovative and inspirational leader, I bring new ideas and fresh solutions to one-health and animal health. I am a one-health infectious diseases researcher with special expertise in molecular microbiology of diverse pathogens from protozoa, to fungi to viruses, and an h-index of 33.


  • Ph.D., University of Sydney, 2015
  • Grad Cert Education (Higher Ed), University of Sydney, 2007
  • FANZCVS (Feline Medicine), Australian and NZ College of Veterinary Scientists, 2000
  • MVetClinStud, University of Sydney, 1997
  • MANZCVS (Small Animal Medicine), Australian and NZ College of Veterinary Scientists, 1996
  • BVSc(hons), University of Sydney, 1990

Biography/Professional Experience

  • City University of Hong Kong, Chair Professor of Companion Animal Health, November 2019-present
  • University of Alto Moro, Bari, Visiting Research Professor, August – November 2019
  • University of Sydney
    • Senior Lecturer 2004 - 2009
    • Associate Professor 2010 - 2015
    • Professor of Feline Medicine 2016 - 2017
    • Professorial Research Fellow 2017 - 2019
  • North Shore Vet. Specialist Centre, Sydney, Feline Medicine Specialist, 2001 - 2004
  • Feline Referral Centre, London N19, Feline Medicine Consultant, 1999 – 2001
  • Royal Veterinary College, University of London, Feline Medicine Consultant, Beaumont Animal Hospital, 1999 – 2001
  • University of Sydney Veterinary, Small Animal Medicine Registrar, 1996 – 1999
  • Teaching Hospital, University of Sydney Small Animal Medicine & Infectious Diseases Resident, 1993 – 1995
  • Sydney Animal Hospitals, Erskineville, NSW, Veterinary practitioner, 1992 - 1993
  • Fairfield Veterinary Hospital, Fairfield, NSW, Veterinary practitioner, 1991 - 1992


  • Kwan E, Carrai M, Lanave G, Hill J, Parry K, Kelman M, Meers J, Decaro N, Beatty JA, Martella V, Barrs VR. Analysis of canine parvoviruses circulating in Australia reveals predominance of variant 2b and identifies feline parvovirus-like mutations in the capsid proteins. Transboundary and Emerging Diseases 2020 Jul 13. doi: 10.1111/tbed.13727. Online ahead of print.
  • Decaro N, Buonavoglia C, Barrs VR. Canine parvovirus vaccination and immunization failures: Are we far from disease eradication? Veterinary Microbiology 2020 Aug;247:108760. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2020.108760. Epub 2020 Jun 15
  • Di Martino B, Lanave G, Di Profio F, Melegari I, Marsilio F, Camero M, Catella C, Capozza P, Bányai K, Barrs VR, Buonavoglia C, Martella V. Identification of feline calicivirus in cats with enteritis Transboundary and Emerging Diseases 2020 May 2. doi: 10.1111/tbed.13605. Online ahead of print.
  • Jenkins E, Davis C, Carrai M, Ward MP, O'Keeffe S, van Boijen M, Beveridge L, Desario C, Buonavoglia C, Beatty JA, Decaro N, Barrs VR. Feline parvovirus seroprevalence is high in domestic cats from disease outbreak and non-outbreak regions in Australia. Viruses 2020, 12(3), 320-325
  • Grueber CE, Chong R, Gooley RM, McLennan EA, Barrs VR, Belov K, Hogg C. Genetic analysis of scat samples to inform conservation of the Tasmanian Devil. Australian Zoologist 2020, 40(3); 492-504.
  • Almendros A, Muguiro DH, Hill FI, Barrs VR. First case of feline cryptococcosis in Hong Kong, caused by Cryptococcus neoformans. Medical Mycology Case Reports
  • Carrai M, Van Brussel K, Shi M, Li CX, Chang WS, Munday JS, Voss K, McLuckie A, Taylor D, Laws A, Holmes EC, Barrs VR, Beatty JA. Identification of a novel papillomavirus associated with squamous cell carcinoma in a domestic cat. Viruses 2020 Jan 20:12(1).p ii:E124.doi:10.3390/v12010124
  • Daly JA, Hubka V, Kubatova A, Gimeno M, Barrs VR. Feline disseminated cutaneous phaeohyphomycosis due to Exophiala spinifera. Medical Mycology Case Reports 2019 Dec 24;27:32 – 35. Doi.10.1016/j.mmcr.2019.12.008
  • Barrs VR, Talbot. J Fungal rhinosinusitis and disseminated invasive aspergillosis in cats. Veterinary Clinics of North America Small Animal Practice 2019 Dec 20. pii: S0195-5616(19)30164-0. doi: 10.1016/j.cvsm.2019.10.006 Review
  • Van Brussel K, Carrai M, Lin C, Kelman M, Setyo L, Aberdein D, Brailey J, Lawler M, Maher S, Plagyani I, Lewis E, Hawkswell A, Allison A, Meers J, Martella V, Beatty JA, Holmes EC, Decaro N, Barrs VR. Distinct Lineages of Feline Parvovirus Associated with Epizootic Outbreaks in Australia, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates. Viruses 2019 11(12), 1155;
  • Kelman M, Barrs VR, Norris JM, Ward MP. Socioeconomic, geographic and climatic risk factors for canine parvovirus infection and euthanasia in Australia. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 2020, 174:104816. doi: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2019.104816
  • Kelman M, Barrs VR, Norris JM, Ward MP. Canine parvovirus prevention and prevalence: Veterinarian perceptions and behaviors. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 2020, 174: 104817. doi: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2019.104817
  • Caringella F, Desario C, Lorusso E, Pallante I, Furlanello T, Lanave G, Elia G, Martella V, Iatta R, Barrs VR, Beatty J, Buonavoglia C, Decaro N Prevalence and risk factors for Felis catus gammaherpesvirus 1 detection in domestic cats in Italy, Veterinary Microbiology 2019; 238: 108426. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2019.108426
  • Pesavento PA, Jackson K, Scase T, Tse T, Hampson B, Barrs VR, Beatty JA. A Novel Hepadnavirus is Associated with Chronic Hepatitis and Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Cats. Viruses 2019, 11(10), 969;
  • Brennan A, Hawley J, Dhand N, Boland L, Beatty JA, Lappin MR, Barrs VR. Seroprevalence and risk factors for Toxoplasma gondii infection in owned domestic cats in Australia. Vector Borne & Zoonotic Diseases 2020 (4), 275-280. Doi:10.1089/vbz.2019.2520
  • Chong R, Grueber CR, Fox S, Wise P, Barrs VR, Hogg CJ, Belov K. Looking like the locals – gut microbiome changes post-release in an endangered species. Animal Microbiome 1(1), 1-10
  • Talbot JJ, Frisvad JC, Meis JF, Hagen F, Verweij PE, Hibbs DE, Lai F, Samson RA, Kidd SE, Barrs VR*, Houbraken J*. Cyp51A mutations, Extrolite Profiles and Antifungal Susceptibility in Clinical and Environmental Isolates of the Aspergillus viridinutans Species Complex. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 2019 Oct 22;63(11). pii: e00632-19. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00632-19. Print 2019 Nov.* Joint senior authors
  • Lanave G, Capozza P, Diakoudi G, Catella C, Catucci L, Ghergo P, Stasi F, Barrs V, Beatty J, Decaro N Buonavoglia C, Martella V, Camero M. Identification of hepadnavirus in the sera of cats. Nature Scientific Reports Jul 23;9(1):10668. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-47175-8.
  • Chong R, Shi M, Grueber C, Holmes EC, Hogg CJ, Belov K, Barrs VR. Fecal viral diversity of captive and wild Tasmanian devils characterized using virion-enriched metagenomics and meta-transcriptomics. Journal of Virology. 2019 May 15;93(11). pii: e00205-19. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00205-19. Print 2019 Jun 1. PMID:30867308
  • Kelman M, Ward MP, Barrs VR, Norris JM. The geographic distribution and financial impact of canine parvovirus in Australia. Transboundary Emerging Diseases 2019 Jan; 66(1):299-311. doi: 10.1111/tbed.13022
  • Whitney J, Haase B, Beatty J, Barrs VR. Breed-specific variations in the coding region of toll-like receptor 4 in the domestic cat. Veterinary Immunology &l Immunopathology. 2019 Mar;2019:61-69. doi: 10.1016/j.vetimm.2019.02.009 PMID:30885307
  • Barrs VR. Feline Panleukopenia: A Re-emergent Disease. Veterinary Clinics of North America Small Animal Practice 2019 Jul;49(4):651-670. doi: 10.1016/j.cvsm.2019.02.006. Epub 2019 Apr 6. Review.
  • Hubka V, Barrs VR, Dudova Z, Sklenar F, Kubatova A, Matsuzawa T, Yaguchi T, Yoshikazu H, Novakova A, Frisvad JC, Talbot JJ, Kolarik M. Unravelling species boundaries in the Aspergillus virdinutans complex (section Fumigati): opportunistic human and animal pathogens capable of interspecific hybridization: Persoonia 2018, 41:142-174,
  • Kirkwood N, Boland L, Burnel L, Wardman A, Barrs VR. Acute adrenal haemorrhage in two cats with aldosterone-secreting adenocarcinomas. Journal of Feline Medicine & Surgery Open Reports 2019; 5(1):2055116919840828. doi: 10.1177/2055116919840828.
  • Whitney J, Haase B, Beatty J, Barrs VR. Genetic polymorphisms in Toll-like receptors 1, 2 and 4 in feline upper respiratory tract aspergillosis. Veterinary Immunology &l Immunopathology. 2019 Aug 7;217:109921. doi: 10.1016/j.vetimm.2019.109921. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Talbot JJ, Subedi S, Halliday C, Hibbls D,Lai F, Lopez-Ruiz F, Harper L, Park R, Cuddy W, Cooley L, Carter D, Sorrell T, Barrs VR*, Chen SC*. Surveillance for azole resistance in clinical and environmental isolates of Aspergillus fumigatus in Australia and cyp51A homology modelling of azole-resistant isolates. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 2018 Sep 1;73(9):2347-2351. doi: 10.1093/jac/dky187.PMID:29846581 *Joint senior authors
  • Jenkins EL, De Souza NJ, Beatty JA, Barrs VR. Suspected adverse drug reaction between Spinosad and milbemycin oxime in a cat. Journal of Feline Medicine & Surgery Open Reports 2019; 5(1):2055116918820733
  • Fawcett A, Barrs V, Awad M, Child G, Brunel L, Mooney E, Martinez-Taboada F, McDonald B, McGreevy P. Consequences and management of canine brachycephaly in veterinary practice: perspectives from Australian veterinarians and veterinary specialists. Animals 2018 Dec 21; 9 (1)
  • Nguyen D, Barrs VR, Kelman M, Ward MP. Feline upper respiratory tract infection and disease in Australia. Journal of Feline Medicine & Surgery 2019: 21(10), 973-978 DOI: 10.1177/1098612X18813248
  • Byrne P, Meers J, DeCaro N, Beatty JA, Barrs VR. Shedding of canine-parvoviruses by asymptomatic shelter-housed cats. The Veterinary Journal 239:54-58. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2018.08.005. Epub 2018 Aug 21
  • Aghazadeh M, Shi M, Pesavento PA, Durham AC, Polley T, Donahoe SL, Troyer RM, Barrs VR, Holmes EC, Beatty JA. Transcriptome analysis and in situ hybridization for FcaGHV1 in Feline Lymphoma. Viruses. 2018 Aug 30;10(9). pii: E464. doi: 10.3390/v10090464.
  • Aghazadeh M, Shi M, Barrs VR, McLuckie AJ, Lindsay SA, Jameson B, Hampson B, Holmes EC, Beatty JA. A novel hepadnavirus identified in an immunocompromised domestic cat in Australia. Viruses 2018, 17; 10(5) doi: 10.3390/v10050269.
  • Bennett PF, Talbot JJ, Martin P, Kidd SE, Makara M, Barrs VR. Long term survival of a dog with disseminated Aspergillus deflectus infection without definitive treatment. Medical Mycology Case Reports 2018; 22:1-3
  • McLuckie AJ, Barrs VR, Lindsay S, Aghazadeh M, Sangster C, Beatty JA. Molecular diagnosis of Felis catus gammaherpesvirus 1 (FcaGHV1) infection in cats of known retrovirus status with and without lymphoma. Viruses 2018 Mar 14;10(3). pii: E128. doi: 10.3390/v10030128.
  • Lyskova P*, Hubka V*, Svobodova L*, Barrs VR*, Dhand NK, Yaguchi T, Matsuzawa T, Horie Y, Kolarik M, Dobias R, Hamal P. Antifungal susceptibility of the Aspergillus viridinutans complex, comparison of two in vitro methods. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2018 Mar 27;62(4). pii: e01927-17. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01927-17. *Joint first authors
  • Talbot JJ, Barrs VR. One Health pathogens in the Aspergillus viridinutans complex. Medical Mycology 2018 Jan 1;56(1):1-12. doi: 10.1093/mmy/myx016. Review
  • Talbot JJ, Houbraken J, Frisvad JC, Samson RA, Kidd SE, Pitt J, Lindsay S, Beatty JA, Barrs VR. Discovery of Aspergillus frankstonensis sp. nov. during environmental sampling for animal and human fungal pathogens. PLoS One Aug 2017 9;12(8):e0181660. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0181660
  • Leshinksy J, McLachlan A, Foster DJ, Norris R, Barrs VR. Pharmacokinetics of caspofungin acetate to guide optimal dosing in cats. PLoS One 2017 Jun 2;12(6):e0178783. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0178783. eCollection 2017.
  • Talbot JJ, Thompson P, Vogelnest L, Barrs VR. Identification of pathogenic Aspergillus isolates from captive birds in Australia. Medical Mycology 2018 56(8):1038-1041. doi: 10.1093/mmy/myx137.
  • Hardefeldt LY, Holloway S, Trott DJ, Shipstone M, Barrs VR, Malik R, Burrows M, Morton J, Armstrong S, Stevenson M. A survey of condition-based antimicrobial prescribing in dogs and cats in Australia: Results of the Australasian Infectious Disease Advisory Panel (AIDAP) Survey. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine May 17 2017 doi:10.111/jvim.14733.
  • McLuckie AJ, Barrs VR, Wilson B, Westman ME, Beatty JA. Felis catus gammaherpesvirus 1 DNAemia in whole blood from therapeutically immunosuppressed or retrovirus-infected cats. Veterinary Sciences 2017, 4(1), 16; doi:10.3390/vetsci4010016 14 March 2017
  • McLuckie AJ, Barrs VR, Smith AL, Beatty JA. Detection of Felis catus gammaherpesvirus 1 (FcaGHV1) in peripheral blood B- and T-lymphocytes in asymptomatic, naturally-infected cats. Virology 2016 Oct; 497;211-216
  • Byrne P, Berman JS, Allan GS, Barrs VR. Computed tomographic findings in two cats with broncholithiasis. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery Open Reports 2016 doi:10.1177/2055116916676176
  • Taylor A, Peters I, Dhand NK, Whitney J, Johnson LR, Beatty JA, Barrs VR. Evaluation of serum Aspergillus-specific immunoglobulin A by indirect ELISA for diagnosis of feline upper respiratory tract aspergillosis. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 2016 30: 1708-1714
  • Whitney J, Krockenberger MB, Day MJ, Beatty JA, Dhand NK, Barrs VR. Immunohistochemical analysis of leucocyte subsets in the sinonasal mucosa of cats with upper respiratory tract aspergillosis. Journal of Comparative Pathology 2016 155 (2-3):130-140
  • Brennan A, Donahoe SL, Beatty JA, Belov K, Lindsay SL, Briscoe KA, Slapeta J, Barrs VR. Comparison of genotypes of Toxoplasma gondii in domestic cats from Australia with latent infection or clinical toxoplasmosis. Veterinary Parasitology 2016 Sep 15;228:13-16. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2016.06.008.

Book Chapters

  • Whitney J, Barrs VR. Actinomycosis, Nocardiosis and Mycobacterial Infections. Companion Animal Infectious Diseases. Kidd, L (Ed), Elsevier Saunders 2020.
  • Barrs VR, Dear JD (2020 In press). Aspergillosis, In Greene’s Infectious Diseases of the Dog and Cat
  • Johnson L, Barrs VR (2020). Feline rhinitis, Kirk’s Current Veterinary Therapy XVI
  • Barrs VR (2019). Environmental and opportunistic fungal pathogens p228-235 In: Infectious Diseases of the Dog and Cat: A Color Handbook. Editors J. Scott Weese, Michelle Evason, Published 8th August 2019, CRC Press Taylor & Francis Group, 6000 Broken Sound Parkway NW suite 300, Boca Raton, FL 33487-2742ISBN: 9781498775519
  • Barrs VR (2018) Feline Aspergillosis. In: Emerging and Epidemic Fungal Infections in Animals. Editor Seyedmousavi, S., de Hoog, G.S., Guillot, J., Verweij, P.E. ISBN: 978-3-319-72091-3.pp 337-356. Springer Nature.
  • Barrs VR (2017) Cryptococcosis. In Lane IF and Stokes J, eds. Veterinary Medicine. New York: Decision Support in Medicine, LLC. Accessed at
  • Barrs VR (2017) Nasal aspergillosis. Barrs VR Cryptococcosis. In Lane IF and Stokes J, eds. Veterinary Medicine. New York: Decision Support in Medicine, LLC. Accessed at
  • Barrs VR (2017) Feline aspergillosis. Ettinger, Feldman & Cote. Veterinary Internal Medicine, 8th edition, Elsevier.

Awards and Honors

  • Visiting Professor University of Bari, Italy Aug-November 2019
  • Chief Executive Women in Leadership Program 2018
    • Awarded 1 of 6 places for senior women, University of Sydney
  • Excellence in Clinical Teaching Award, University of Sydney 2015
  • Thompson Research Fellowship, University of Sydney 2015
  • Reduction in the Use of Animals in Research Award, University of Sydney 2013
  • Australian Small Animal Veterinary Association, Distinguished Scientist Award 2009
  • The Universities Federation for Animal Welfare Companion Animal Welfare Award 2009
  • Outstanding Innovation in Animal Welfare Science for LIDA
  • Vice Chancellor’s Award for Systems that Achieve Collective Excellence in Teaching 2009
  • Australian Veterinary Association, Excellence in Teaching Award 2008
  • Pearson Education UniServe Science Teaching Award 2008

Professional/Academic Affiliations

  • Australian College of Veterinary Scientists
    • Small Animal Medicine Chapter (Member) 1997-present
    • Feline Medicine Chapter (Fellow) 2000-present
  • Australian Veterinary Association Member 1991-present
  • Australian Small Animal Veterinary Association Member 1995-present
  • International Society of Human and Animal Mycoses (ISHAM) 2013-present
  • Australian Society of Microbiology Member 2013-present
  • Australian Society of Infectious Diseases Member 2016-present
  • International Society of Infectious Diseases Member 2013-present
  • International Society of Companion Animal Infectious Diseases member 2009-present
  • International Society of Feline Medicine Member 2004-present