Neurology Faculty Veterinarians
Joan R. Coates, DVM, MS, DACVIM–Neurology
Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery
Director of the Comparative Neurology Program
Board-certified Specialist in Neurology
Joan Coates specializes in neurology and neurosurgery and is Section Head of the Neurology & Neurosurgery Section/Service.
As a researcher, Coates is a member of the Comparative Neurology Program, which explores inherited developmental and degenerative diseases of the nervous system, and is involved with translational research for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Her research focus involves the study of canine degenerative myelopathy as a disease model for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease).
In addition, Coates co-directs the Neurology & Neurosurgery Service, and is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.
Coates received a bachelor’s degree and a doctor of veterinary medicine from the University of Missouri. She completed a small animal rotating internship at Texas A&M University and a three-year residency in neurology and neurosurgery at Auburn University. She also received a master of science degree in neuroscience from Auburn University.
When she’s not working, Coates enjoys spending time with her family and their four dogs, one cat, two miniature Sicilian donkeys and two quarter horses. Her hobbies include long-distance cycling, hiking and trekking and playing flute.
Sissy (Hsuan-Ping) Hong, DVM, MVM, MS, DACVIM–Neurology
Assistant Teaching Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery
Sissy Hong specializes in neurology and neurosurgery with a special interest in seizures and neuromuscular disease.
Sissy Hong received a doctor of veterinary medicine degree from National Taiwan University, School of Veterinary Medicine in Taiwan. Following graduation, she completed a small animal rotating internship and earned a master’s degree at National Taiwan University. Hong then completed a clinical year at Louisiana State University and achieved her Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG) certification. She later moved to Prince Edward Island, Atlantic Veterinary College, Canada, for her small animal rotating internship. Hong went on to complete her residency in neurology and neurosurgery and master’s degree at Purdue University.
When she is not working, Hong enjoys spending time with her family and going on hikes with her English Lab, Stix. Her hobbies include reading mystery novels, drawing and playing the piano.
Ji-Hey Lim, DVM, PhD, DACVIM–Neurology
Assistant Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery
Ji-Hey Lim specializes in neurology and neurosurgery with a special interest in traumatic spinal cord injury and translational medicine.
Lim received a doctor of veterinary medicine from Seoul National University, College of Veterinary Medicine in South Korea. Following graduation, she completed a three years of training in orthopedic surgery and earned a PhD at Seoul National University. Her research focused on a spinal cord injury model and treatment using allogenic stem cells in dogs. To expand bench-top work to the clinical side, Lim joined a spinal cord injury program at North Carolina State University. There she conducted extensive research to improve the treatment of spinal cord injuries in dogs through the development of novel therapeutics, evaluation tools and biomarkers for the prediction of outcomes. Lim left North Carolina and went on to complete a residency in neurology and neurosurgery at the University of Florida.
When she is not working, she enjoys outdoor activities including hiking, swimming, snowboarding and golf. She also loves to watch movies and spend time with her husband.
Dennis O’Brien, DVM, MS, PhD, DACVIM
Adjunct Professor Emeritus
Chancellor’s Chair of Excellence in Comparative Neurology
Board-Certified Specialist in Neurology
Dennis O’Brien specializes in medical neurology with a special interest in hereditary diseases, movement disorders and epilepsy.
O’Brien received his doctor of veterinary medicine from the University of Illinois. After three years in general practice, he returned to the University of Illinois to complete a residency in neurology and a PhD in neuroscience.
A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, O’Brien received the organization’s Kirk Award for Professional Excellence in 2011.
When he’s not working, O’Brien enjoys hiking, cycling, prairie restoration, and photography. His family shares their home with two cats, three draft horses, and two dogs with cerebellar ataxia and one with diabetes.
Nicole Alleva, DVM
Nicole Alleva, DVM, is originally from Carmel, New York. She received her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Presbyterian College. She attended veterinary school at Cornell University and later completed a small animal rotating internship at the University of Georgia.
When not at work, she enjoys hiking with her dog, Leeta, baking, and has recently started playing golf. Alleva enjoys all aspects of neurology, especially the diagnosis and treatment of meningoencephalitis of unknown origin (MUO).
Allison DuPont, DVM
Allison DuPont is originally from Montclair, New Jersey. She received her bachelor’s degree in biology with minors in nutrition and psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. She relocated to the Midwest for her postgraduate education, attending veterinary school at the University of Illinois followed by a small animal rotating internship at the University of Wisconsin. In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors with her dog, Willow, exploring new trails, kayaking, paddle boarding and working on improving her green thumb with her recently cultivated herb garden.
Kara Majors, DVM
Kara Majors is originally from Lexington, South Carolina. She received her bachelor’s degree from Clemson University and attended veterinary school at Mississippi State University. She later completed a small animal rotating internship at the University of Missouri and a specialty neurology internship at Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital in Colorado.
When she is not working, she enjoys hiking with her two dogs, Benji and Moose, yoga and reading.
Dr. Elizabeth Meiman, DVM
Elizabeth Meiman, DVM, is originally from Durham, Connecticut, and received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut. She went on to veterinary school at Iowa State University and completed a small animal rotating internship and neurology specialty internship at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in New Jersey. She completed an internship with the University of Missouri Comparative Neurology Program studying canine hereditary neurodegenerative diseases prior to starting her residency.
When she’s not working, Meiman enjoys playing ultimate frisbee and basketball, gardening, rock climbing, cycling, cooking, hiking, and trying to keep up with her energetic cat, Bertie.
Anna Vollet was born and raised in Jefferson City, Missouri. She attended Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky, where she studied sociology and psychology and ran Division 1 track. After graduating, she discovered she had a passion for working with and caring for animals, which inspired her to pursue a career in this field. In December of 2023 she joined the MU Neurology Service as a veterinary assistant with the goal of continuing her education and becoming a registered veterinary technician.
Her hobbies include reading, writing, drawing, going to the movies, going to the gym, and spending time with her family.