Avian Specialist Bios
Dr. Elisa Varaela Voltura
Dr. Elise Varaela Voltura, “EV” was born in Berkeley, California but grew up in the great last frontier that is Alaska. She developed a strong passion for the natural world through the numerous hiking and camping trips her parents took her on starting from infancy. EV has had a keen interest in birds, especially parrots, since she was a young girl and has been pursuing the ability to study them most of her life. She learned about Harrison’s shortly after the acquisition of her first psittacine companion, a Monk Parakeet she rescued from being euthanized in California, at the young age of 12.
EV graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science with a minor in Biology from the University of Oregon. Following her passion for birds EV spent a couple of years in New Zealand and Mexico working on various avian conservation projects prior to pursuing graduate school. She was convinced to move to College Station Texas to pursue a PhD when she was awarded a Merit Fellowship from Texas A&M University.
EV graduated from Texas A&M University’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences with a PhD (Biomedical Sciences; Department of Veterinary Pathobiology) in 2022. Her doctoral work focused on exploring the health and conservation of parrots and had a strong focus on parrot dietary habits and nutrition; it was inspired by a spectacular example of psittacine geophagy (the consumption of earthen materials) that can be found in the rainforests of the Peruvian Amazon. She continues to maintain her connection with the Schubot Center for Avian Health as well as the Parrot Researchers Group to stay abreast of the last research related to parrots.
After completing a bumble bee related post doc with the Knowledge Engineering Laboratory at Texas A&M University, EV continued her search for a path forward in academia where she could continue pursuing improving our understanding of the dietary habits and nutritional requirements of parrots. At ExoticsCon 2023, EV and Harrison’s Bird Foods connected under what were fairly serendipitous circumstances and immediately found that we share similar interests and goals. EV looks forward to helping the Harrison’s Bird Foods team carry the mission of Harrison’s Bird Foods forward as both a scientific research-based knowledge engineer and consultant. As a parront of 6 parrots (2 Blue and Gold Macaws and 4 Black Headed Parrots), EV appreciates that other parronts trust Harrison’s with their parrots’ lives and strives to ensure that she does everything she can to help Harrison’s continue to offer the best and number one veterinary recommended dietary products available on the market today!
Dr. Bianca Murphy
Dr. Bianca Murphy was born and raised in Jupiter, Florida. She studied at Florida Atlantic University and earned a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences. It was during her undergraduate studies that she took her interest in science and medicine and focused it towards animals. It was also where she developed her deep respect for those species encompassed within the avian family.
From FAU, she moved to Gainesville and earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Florida. She was fortunate to find a supportive clinic to start her career in Indian Harbor Beach, Florida and it was only after an offer to train at Medical Center for Birds in Oakley, CA that she moved to California.
Under the mentorship of Brian Speer, Brenna Fitzgerald, and Geoff Olsen, she completed an internship, residency, and achieved her goal of earning Diplomate status as an Avian Specialist. She continued to practice at Medical Center for Birds until 2020 when she moved down to southern California.
It was at this point that she began diversifying her career to include not only clinical practice, but collaboration with Harrisons to elevate the standard of avian nutrition, advancement of avian diagnostics with Moichor, and embarked on the development of an avian medicine curriculum for veterinarians and veterinary students with the Association of Avian Veterinarians.
She has contributed to peer reviewed literature and is a reviewer for the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery.
In practice, her goal has always been to treat the whole patient, ensuring that our birds, big and small, can participate fully in the incredible and long lives that they have. As a colleague, she enjoys supporting other veterinarians as they advance in their practice of avian medicine. At the beginning of 2023 she accepted her first resident in avian medicine.
Outside of work, she enjoys surfing, climbing, traveling, spending time with friends and family, and exploring life with her husband, two shepherds, macaw, and tortoise.