Oncology Staff


Dr. Jennifer Pierro, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Oncology), Head of Oncology Department

Dr. Jennifer Pierro grew up in Sydney, Australia and California. She did her undergraduate work in psychology at UC Berkeley. She then moved to Providence, Rhode Island, where she developed her passion for both basic science and clinical research during her graduate studies at Brown University. She went on to complete her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at Purdue University, during which time she discovered her fascination with oncology and cancer biology. She completed an internship and medical oncology residency at University of Georgia. During that time, she was fortunate to have the opportunity to run clinical trials and bench top studies using feline cancer cell lines.

Dr. Pierro’s interests include feline mammary cancer, feline lymphoma, novel chemotherapeutics, and drug re-positioning. Most importantly, her focus is treating cancer while promoting quality of life. She is very excited to be joining the team at MASH, and to be starting the oncology program.


Dr. Avenelle Turner, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology)

Dr. Turner was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado and has always known she wanted to be a veterinarian. She attended Colorado State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in microbiology in 1997, and then graduated from Colorado State University, College of Veterinary Medicine in 2000. Dr. Turner then completed a one-year internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Garden State Veterinary Specialists in NJ. This was followed by a comprehensive three-year residency in medical oncology at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists in TX. She completed board certification and became a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 2005. After completing her residency, Dr. Turner returned to the east coast and was the head of the oncology service at Fifth Avenue Veterinary Specialists, a prestigious referral practice located in New York City. Her heart was always drawn to clinical research and practicing medicine at an innovative cancer center and so in March 2010, she relocated to Los Angeles, California to accepted a position at one of the largest oncology practices in the world where she was the senior oncologist and the primary investigator of multiple clinical trials.

Dr. Turner has authored numerous publications and manuscripts. She has been interviewed by national magazines and blogs. She speaks regularly to the local veterinary community and general public and enjoys educating both veterinary professionals and pet owners. Dr. Turner’s professional interests are lymphoma, clinical research, comparative oncology, chemotherapy, metronomic therapy and palliative care. She also supports a combination approach to cancer care, utilizing both eastern and western principles. Dr. Turner works regularly with holistically trained doctors to meet the needs of her patients. Dr. Turner’s primary focus is to provide the best possible care to pets with cancer. She believes in a bond-centered practice and delivers medical care along with compassion. Improving and providing a good quality of life for her patients is her top priority. Dr. Turner feels strongly that the treatment for pet cancer should not be worse than the disease itself.

Dr. Turner resides in Marina del Rey, California with her long-haired dachshunds, Sookie! and Romo. In her free time, she enjoys exploring Southern California, wine tasting, traveling abroad, reading and yoga. Dr. Turner is also active with the non-profit organization CLEAR (Canine Lymphoma Education Awareness and Research), for whom she does “pop-up” community-education cancer talks. She was recently featured in their award winning documentary “My Friend, Standing Strong” https://clearcaninecancer.com


Josef, Oncology Department Manager

Josef grew up in Mississippi gulf coast, but has lived most of his adult life in Los Angeles. Josef has a Bachelors in Animal Sciences from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Josef loves the reward of seeing pets feel better and bringing joy to owners. Josef started working in general practice for 1 year and then switched to specialty medicine in oncology. He joined the MASH oncology team in July 2018 and is helping to develop the oncology department. He is currently starting the process to find a dog to adopt. In his spare time, he likes to travel, cook (and eat!), go to the theater and attend concerts.


Melissa, VA, Oncology, Assistant Manager

Melissa was born and raised in Los Angeles. She has been working in the veterinary field since 2012. She has worked as a receptionist, pharmacy tech, doctor’s assistant and tech assistant. She has worked in surgery and oncology specialty medicine before joining MASH’s nutrition team in October 2018. Melissa is currently in school to obtain her associates in Animal Sciences from San Juan College. She wants to get her RVT license. She has a 4-year-old Chihuahua named Gypsee. In Melissa’s free time, she likes to paint, go to music festivals, explore new breweries, and go to art galleries.


Kristine, RVT, Lead Technician, Oncology

Kristine was born and raised in Los Angeles. She has been in the veterinary field since 1998. She obtained her Associates in Veterinary Technology from Mt. Sac and is an RVT. Kristine started working in general practice, but moved to specialty medicine, specifically oncology, in 2015. She enjoys the science behind oncology and plans on obtaining her VTS in Oncology soon. She joined the MASH oncology team in July of 2018. She has one dog, a Border Collie named Lynus. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her kids and working on her house.


Sarah, Veterinary Assistant, Oncology

Sarah was born in Long Beach but grew up in Huntington Beach. She recently moved to Los Angeles so that she could expand her knowledge in the veterinary field. Sarah joined the MASH dermatology team in April 2019. In 2013, Sarah started working for a general practice veterinary hospital and decided that she wanted to pursue a career as a veterinary technician. She obtained a veterinary attendant certificate from Heritage College in Lake Forest and now completed the requirements for the alternative route veterinary technician program to become an RVT. She worked as a veterinary assistant for 3 and ½ years at a specialty oncology hospital. She has a 16-year-old domestic long hair cat named Mr. Bubbles. In her free time, she loves to travel, horseback ride, work out at the gym, bike ride, cook, and attend local concerts and shows.