Assistant Professor Health Programs
Marie Hopfensperger, DVM, DACVB runs the MSU Veterinary Medical Center's Behavior Service. She is one of four board-certified behaviorists in the state of Michigan, and she is a Fear Free Certified Professional. Dr. Hopfensperger’s clinical interests include humane handling of cats and dogs, aggression, psychopharmacology, and feline inappropriate elimination. Her current research is focused on animal-assisted therapy for trauma survivors. Dr. Hopfensperger is also a registered yoga teacher and is passionate about veterinary professional wellbeing.
Dr. Hopfensperger received her Bachelor’s degree in cellular and molecular biology from the University of Michigan in 1996 and graduated with honors from the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine in 2009. She spent the first half of her veterinary behavior residency at North Carolina State University and completed her residency at the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Hopfensperger was a general practitioner in northern Michigan before returning to academia to pursue her passion for veterinary behavior.
Jessica earned an Associate of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology from Baker College, Cadillac, in 2011, followed by a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Central Michigan University in 2014. Jessica also holds a Certificate in Applied Animal Behavior from the University of Washington, is an Elite Fear Free Certified Professional, and is Low-Stress Handling® Silver Certified. Jessica is passionate about animal behavior and dedicated to keeping current with research and applied principles in animal training and behavior modification. Jessica and her husband share their home with Kavik, a GSD/Collie mix and three cats: Sunkist, Slice, and Dahlia the Wildcat.
Additional team members
Dr. Verma and Dani provide relief coverage and additional support for the veterinary behavior service.
Dr. Verma is extremely excited to join the MSU Veterinary Behavior Service. In July 2019, Dr. Verma started a residency program in behavioral medicine under the mentorship of Dr. Hopfensperger. Since fall 2020, Dr. Verma has been an adjunct professor at MSU College of Veterinary Medicine assisting part-time with the teaching of veterinary students. His interest in pain management and geriatric patients spurred him to complete the Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner and Certificate in Companion Animal Pain Management programs at the University of Tennessee. He also has completed the Evidence-Based Veterinary Acupuncture course through the Chi Institute, furthering his study of acupuncture through the CuraCore Certified Veterinary Medical Acupuncturist Program.
Licensed Veterinary Technician
Danielle was recently added as an on-call behavior technician. She graduated from The Vet Tech Institute in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her associate's degree in Veterinary Technology in 2007. Danielle was born and raised in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, after graduation from the Vet Tech Institute, she moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where she worked in emergency and general practice for a total of 10 years. During her 10 years in practice, she became passionate about animal behavior and started to dedicate herself to it. Since 2016, she worked in veterinary practices that were only limited to behavior. Her interest in behavior led her to become a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner in 2017 and is planning to finish up her journey to become a Veterinary Technician Specialty in Behavior exam in the fall of 2021. Her behavioral interests are, but not limited to, aggression, reactivity, inappropriate elimination for cats, low-stress veterinary visits, and is passionate about resolving fear-related issues in horses.