Dr. Joo was born in Seoul, South Korea but moved to the United States at the age of 4. When she was 9 years old, her father, also a veterinarian, opened his own small animal practice in Northeast Philadelphia, and she was recruited to work there after school every day. Her love of animals was formed there, but she was discouraged from pursuing veterinary medicine and encouraged to go into human medicine. She was accepted into an accelerated medical program at the Pennsylvania State University but dropped out of this program after spending time as an EMT and realizing this was not her passion. She obtained a degree in microbiology and worked in a small biotechnology lab and as a diagnostic microbiologist at the Penn State University branch of the Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Laboratory System. It was there that she was exposed to veterinarians in nonclinical careers, and she became interested in pursuing a degree in veterinary medicine. Dr. Joo attended the Ohio State University and worked on varying research projects with zoonotic enteric bacteria, planning to pursue a career in epidemiology and disease outbreak investigation. However, veterinary dentistry stole her heart during a 3rd year wetlab, and her whole career path changed. She completed a small animal rotating internship in Sacramento and a 3-year residency in Dentistry and Oral Surgery at UC Davis. She was a staff veterinarian at Tufts Veterinary Emergency Treatment and Specialties, a private practice run by Tufts University, and assistant professor at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. When the opportunity to return to California and leave Nor’easters behind, she was happy to take it!
Dr. Joo shares her home with her boyfriend, a bottle-raised German Shorthaired Pointer who may think he is a cat, and 4 orange cats. When not at work, she spends her time exploring her neighborhood, eating, knitting, and trying to keep the youngest cat from eating yarn.