Our team

Helen Williams

Helen WilliamsBVSc CertCHP ECBHM MRCVS

Helen qualified from Liverpool in 2003 and after a period in mixed practice returned to Leahurst farm practice. She has a certificate in cattle health and production. Recently she has gained a European Diploma in bovine health management and is now a European specialist in this subject. Her interests are wide ranging. At present she is involved in projects concerning bull fertility and sheep lameness, especially looking at CODD but also has expertise in most dairy herd problems. In her spare time Helen enjoys kayaking.

Amy Holman


Amy graduated from Edinburgh University in 2005. She worked in both sole farm and mixed practice before embarking on a residency here at Liverpool, during which she completed the Diploma in Bovine Reproduction. Following a short stint back in general practice, she has rejoined the team as a clinical teacher. Amy enjoys all aspects of fertility work, herd health and preventative medicine. Out of work Amy is a keen supporter of St. Helens RLFC and enjoys travelling the world.

Amy Gillespie

Amy GillespieBVMS MRCVS

Amy graduated from Glasgow in 2009 and worked in farm practice in Wiltshire, before joining the Leahurst team on a Residency programme in 2011. Amy is working towards her MSc in Epidemiology. She enjoys all aspects of farm work from routine fertility visits to surgery. When not working, Amy spends her time playing netball, walking up mountains and generally enjoying the great outdoors.

Pippa Mahon

Pippa MahenMA VetMB MRCVS

Pippa graduated from Cambridge in 2004. Since then she has worked in mixed practice in North Wales, Lancashire and Shropshire, as well as a spell working with big game in South Africa. She is now returning to the borders of her native Merseyside to join the Leahurst Residency programme. Pippa has a wide range of interests across farm animal practice work, especially in dairy practice. Outside of work she enjoys running and has completed two marathons.

Niall Connolly BSc BVSc MRCVS

Niall graduated from the University of Liverpool in 2011. Since qualifying he has worked in mixed practices in North Wales and Shropshire, along with a stint in small animal practice in Liverpool. Niall has joined the farm practice team as cover for Helen, while she is on maternity leave. He enjoys all aspects of farm work with a particular interest in surgery. When not working, Niall spends his spare time playing Gaelic football. He currently plays for Liverpool Wolftones, who compete within the Lancashire league.

Nichol Fisher BVSc MRCVS

Nichol graduated from Liverpool University in 2012 and started an internship at the Leahurst Farm Animal Practice straight away. After a brief time in mixed practice in North Yorkshire, she has returned to Leahurst as a Resident and is currently working towards the cattle CertAVP. Nichol enjoys all aspects of farm animal work, especially cattle and sheep obstetrics, surgery and health planning. Outside of work Nichol spends most of her free time training and competing in Flyball and agility with her dogs.

Consultant veterinary surgeons

Here at the Leahurst farm practice we are fortunate to have on our team recognised specialists in their fields whom the practice vets can call upon whenever extra expertise is required in solving our clients’ problems.

Jennifer Duncan

Dr. Jennifer DuncanBVA/AWF Lecturer in Livestock & Welfare

Jennifer is a Lecturer in Livestock Health and Welfare Division. She has overall responsibility for Farm Animal Teaching in the BVSc curriculum and personally teaches the Animal Welfare course and the Sheep Clinical course. Her research interests are also animal welfare and sheep disease, and she is presently Principal Investigator on a four year research project into Contagious Ovine Digital Dermatitis, funded by the British Veterinary Association Animal Welfare Foundation. Jennifer is currently studying for the European Diploma in Small Ruminant Health Management.

Emma Fishbourne

Dr. Emma FishbourneBSc (Hon), BVSc, PhD, MRCVS

Emma is interested in ruminant nutrition and infectious diseases and if she is honest all things bovine and ovine! Emma graduated from Liverpool in 2002 after doing an extra year at Leeds University on animal science to enhance her nutrition knowledge and a project at the Pirbright Institute on Rinderpest.  After graduation she went straight into farm practice in the Midlands before moving down south to continue working with livestock.  After more than 5 years in practice Emma returned to Pirbright to do a PhD on African Swine Fever (ASF) (an exotic pig virus) but missed cows too much and after finishing it went into farm practice in the South West, working with some large dairy units. She then spent some more time at Pirbright working with commercial companies and overseas governments and providing veterinary assistance to a number of reference laboratories housed there; including the world reference laboratory for foot and mouth before coming back to LiverpooI as a Lecturer, primarily teaching clinical skills. Outside of work Emma enjoys travelling, scuba diving, netball and is trying to get fit this year to be able to run her first (and possibly only) marathon!

Dai Grove-White

Dr. Dai Grove–WhiteFellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

Dai is a recognised specialist in cattle health and production; he gained his PhD in the epidemiology of Campylobacter in ruminants and is a renowned authority on calf health and diseases. Prior to joining Liverpool University in 2000 he ran his own practice in North Wales, before which he spent time in the Middle East and Africa working in the cattle industry. His current research interests are dairy calf nutrition and health, Johnes disease, the molecular epidemiology of Campylobacter, and the study of lameness in sheep.

Karin Mueller

Karin Mueller

Karin graduated in Germany and worked in private practice and academia in a variety of positions in the UK and New Zealand. As University Physician she led the farm animal clinical section at Cambridge Veterinary School for over a decade. Karin completed a MVSc in Theriogenology, holds both the European and RCVS Diploma in cattle health, and is a European Specialist in bovine health management.
Karin has been involved with South American Camelids since 1999, greatly contributing to the advancement and further understanding of health and disease in these species through clinical work and research, and by training veterinary students, practitioners and owners. She was awarded the Felipe Benevides Trophy in recognition of her contributions to the industry in 2012.
Karin regularly speaks at national and international conferences and has authored numerous publications in the fields of bovine and camelid medicine. She is particularly interested in reproduction, medicine, and abdominal surgery. In alpacas, she has been involved in studies on assessing failure of passive transfer, using body measurements to estimate liveweight, defining normal neurological and ophthalmological parameters, and establishing reference ranges for blood parameters for alpacas in the UK. Recently, she has been studying joint cartilage.
Karin is now a Senior Lecturer in reproduction and animal husbandry at Liverpool University, and works as a consultant in camelid and bovine medicine.

Georgios Oikonomou

Dr. Georgios Oikonomou

George graduated from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in 2002. During his PhD studies he investigated the genetics of energy balance and reproduction in Holstein cows. He worked for a few years as a veterinarian/herd manager for a dairy farm and then decided to cross the Atlantic and work for Cornell University. There, he got involved in research projects regarding dairy cattle mastitis, lameness, and reproduction; he collaborated with large dairy farms, and was also introduced to the fascinating world of metagenomics. He still collaborates with Cornell University (recently appointed an Adjunct Assistant Professor position at the Department of Population Medicine) and is a co PI in a USDA funded grant that aims to study the dynamics of the mammary microbiota during and after intramammary infection with major mastitis pathogens. He plays basketball and is a big fan of Aris Thessaloniki; he also enjoys reading and spending time in Piyes (his village in Greece)..

Jo Oultram

Jo Oultram

Jo qualified from Liverpool in 1991 and has returned here after spending 16 years in mixed and farm practice in Cheshire. She is married to a local dairy farmer and is interested in all aspects of dairy cattle health and management as well as care of camelids. When not farming cows and potatoes Jo enjoys horse riding and skiing. Jo gained her postgraduate, Royal College certificate in cattle health and production in 2008, and her Diploma in Bovine Reproduction in 2012.

Rob Smith

Dr. Rob Smith

Rob graduated from Liverpool in 1989. After a spell in a very mixed practice in mid-Wales he returned to Leahurst to do a PhD studying the control of stress responses in sheep and is still involved in research on the affect of stress on fertility and oestrus behaviour and into Neospora abortion. He works in the practice during teaching time and tries to continue research during the “holidays”. He has a specific interest in cattle reproduction .He is particularly interested in the use of ultrasonography in diagnosis from urolithiasis to sexing foetuses. He is involved in organising the Diploma in Bovine Reproduction course for qualified vets. Rob now spends a considerable time doing Knowledge Exchange projects and workshops throughout the milk supply chain.

Jan Van Dijk

Dr. Jan Van Dijk

After graduating at Utrecht University (the Netherlands), Jan came over to the UK in January 1998. He worked in mixed practice, specialist ruminant practice, and at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (now AHVLA) for a total of 7 years before completing a PhD on the effects of climate change on gutworms of sheep at Bristol University. He moved to Leahurst to research the effects of climate change on liver fluke and his current research interests continue to focus on controlling parasites of cattle and sheep. Jan has a wide interest in the epidemiology, diagnosis and control of infectious diseases. Out of working hours, he enjoys exploring North Wales on two wheels (mountain bike and motorbike being equally popular).

Support staff

Cathy Astbury and Jo Sutherst keep our office running smoothly, answer the phone all week and sort out clients’ requirements and drug orders.

Janet Davies takes care of all the equipment, cleaning, sterilising and organising it so that we are fully equipped when you need us.

Jason Mutch

Jason Mutch

Jason Mutch is our qualified foot trimmer. He has three towable Wopa crushes and is available daily for routine foot trimming as well as working with the vets on clinically lame cows.  Jason has been working with the practice for over sixteen years and has a wealth of practical experience with dairy cattle lameness.  He gained the Diploma in Bovine Foot Care in 1998.  As well as carrying out daily foot clinics on our clients farms he is actively engaged in the teaching of fourth and final year veterinary students.

Alistair Fletcher

Alistair is one of our Farm Practice technicians, with his main duties being looking after inpatients on the yard and taking the students disbudding and foot trimming, as well as assisting the vets to help complete tasks. Alistair is currently working towards the Diploma in Cattle Foot Trimming. Having been brought up on a family dairy farm he has keen interest working with dairy stock. Outside of work Alistair enjoys playing football and following his team Nottingham forest.