Dr. Jim Powell, PhD
Chief Executive Officer
Jim has enjoyed a rewarding professional career in fisheries, aquaculture and conservation. He is classically educated as a fish reproductive physiologist specializing in the areas of growth, health and reproduction. Jim has used his research background to provide practical applications and solutions that address issues of how fish react to their environment at the organism level in relation to their environment. Jim served in commercial, enhancement and conservation fish production in tropical, sub-tropical and temperate fresh and salt waters around the world. He worked in pharmaceutical development for over a decade with the aim of improving fish health and welfare while protecting wild stocks. In the public sector, Jim worked in recreational fisheries and conservation biology, working to help integrate research gains into these activities.
At BC CAHS, Jim feels privileged to lead an inspired and dedicated team that addresses the health and welfare of wild and cultured fish in a way that secures an abundant future for healthy salmon.
Dr. Ahmed Siah, PhD
Ahmed joined the team at BC CAHS in November 2011. His duties include managing research projects, developing new technologies in the field of aquatic health diagnostics and implementing and validating molecular biology technologies for diagnostics. Dr. Siah pursued his Postdoctoral studies in Molecular Ecotoxicology at the University of Le Havre in France after earning his PhD in Oceanography at the Institute of Marine Sciences in Rimouski, Quebec. As a Research Associate at Prince Edward Island’s Atlantic Veterinary College, he led and managed several projects on mollusk health management and the development of molecular diagnostic tools. Ahmed’s research focused primarily on identifying molecular biomarkers related to shellfish diseases and on developing new technologies to detect micro-organisms affecting fish and shellfish health. While at the Atlantic Veterinary College, Ahmed worked on hemic neoplasia in soft shell clams and developed diagnostic assays for rapid and high-throughput detection of tunicate invasive species which are heavily affecting the mussel industry in PEI.
Ahmed and his wife live in Campbell River with their young family. He’s an avid soccer player.
Debbie Collins, Cert. Card. Tech., Cert. Lead.
Debbie worked at a health research facility for twenty-four years before moving to Campbell River in 2004. Debbie has moved her focus from human to aquatic fish health. She joined the Centre in 2005 and her main role is lab services such as ATPase and Cortisols. She also purchases all new equipment and lab consumables.
She enjoys being a great mom and interior decorating.
Elan Downey, BSc
Outreach and Education Coordinator
Elan received her Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from the Univ. of Victoria (BC) in 1986. Previous to joining BC-CAHS, she worked for Fisheries and Oceans Canada in Nanaimo, BC where she participated in Shellfish research. She then joined the finfish aquaculture industry in the late 80’s and worked in Fish Health and Environmental Monitoring. Elan also taught the Salmon Farm Technician Course at North Island College in the early 2000’s. In 2006, Elan joined the BC-CAHS team as a research assistant and workshop instructor. Her areas of focus at BC CAHS include plankton productivity, sea lice, teaching workshops to industry and doing outreach activities in Campbell River, BC.
Elan now lives in Campbell River after living on Quadra Island for almost 28 years. She enjoys all there is to enjoy living on the west coast.
Garnet Martens, BSc, MSc
Garnet holds a BSC and MSc in Biology from the University of Victoria (1995, 2000) where he studied morphological changes to the growing salmon retina. Garnet joined BC CAHS in March 2018 after nearly 17 years with the University of British Columbia (UBC) Bioimaging Facility. In addition to a strong technical background, he brings 12 years of laboratory and staff management experience to BC CAHS.
Garnet and his wife live in Courtenay, BC with their two boys. Garnet dedicates a lot of his time to youth sports (soccer, hockey, and baseball) and when not on a field or rink, he is usually found on a trail or in a campsite enjoying everything BC has to offer.
Kayla Williams, BSc
Research Assistant/Project Coordinator
Kayla has lived most of her life on Vancouver Island specifically in the Comox Valley. She just recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology/COOP from UVIC. She is excited to rejoin the team at BCCAHS after first being a coop student in the summer of 2016. She is a research assistant on the Kudoa Mitigation project, coordinating sampling and performing the relevant associated laboratory tests.
Outside of work, she enjoys exploring our beautiful island with her dog, spending time with her family and reading a good book.
Kendall Plant, BSc
Kendall was raised in the Rocky Mountains of the East Kootenays; she misses home but is enjoying all the beautiful things Vancouver Island has to offer. She is an UVic alumni with her Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and Biochemistry. Kendall completed a co-op term with BC CAHS as a virology technician in 2017, and has returned as the lead qPCR technician performing diagnostics.
When she isn’t at work, you can find Kendall baking, painting, or reading science fiction books though her husband might say she spends all her time napping.
Kim Bull, BSc
Kim holds a BSc in Biology from the University of Victoria. Kim joined BC CAHS in early 2012, after contract work in 2011. Prior experience with water sampling and analysis for a biotechnology company has given Kim the solid background needed to assist with a wide variety of projects at BC CAHS. In addition to salmonid enhancement and enumeration at a North Island hatchery, she brings to her position prior experience in the aquaculture industry.
In addition to being a full-time mom, Kim enjoys canoeing, hiking, and being involved with Rotary.
Kiran Nair, BSc, MBiotech
Kiran has a Bachelor’s in Microbiology and a Master’s in Biotechnology from India and was working as a a Senior Microbiologist in a Poultry vaccine company in India before moving to Canada. He did a diploma in Industrial Microbiology from Toronto, Ontario after which he moved to BC and worked as a Food Safety/Quality Control technician in a major food processing conglomerate, before joining the BC Ministry of Agriculture. At BCMAL, he worked in disease diagnosis of various veterinary species including fish using classical virology and molecular biology techniques. In addition to his technical experience, he brings past working experience in a fully ISO/AAVLD accredited laboratory.
Kiran recently moved to Campbell River with his small family (his wife and a 2 year old daughter) and he is looking forward to exploring more of the Island life with his family. He has great interest in sports like cricket and badminton and as a family they love to travel and explore different places and foods.
Michelle Douglas, BSc
Michelle graduated from the University of Victoria in 2016 with a BSc in Biology – Marine concentration. She attended Fall Program 2015 at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre, where she completed a Directed Studies project on the effect of predatory stimuli on the behaviour of juvenile geoduck clams. Michelle has worked as an Aquaculture Technician, and has worked as a field technician with multiple juvenile salmonid monitoring programs. She joined BC CAHS in 2019, and she divides her time between laboratory diagnostics, and research with field support for the Kudoa Mitigation project.
When she is not looking at salmon or talking about salmon, Michelle enjoys being on the water, playing the ukulele, and tending to her garden. She lives on Quadra Island with her fiancée, with whom she shares one very handsome cat.
Sarah Unrau, BSc, MSc
Sarah completed both her BSc and MSc in Biology at the University of Lethbridge, focusing primarily on parasites. Throughout her time at university, she worked at Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada on projects involving a variety of livestock parasites and ticks, while her Master’s thesis was on the behaviour and imaging of the liver fluke Dicrocoelium dendriticum, one of the causative agents of “zombie ants”. Sarah started working at BC CAHS in May of 2019 as a laboratory technician, working primarily on sea lice, ELISA and qPCR and has since switched to the role of research assistant, working with Dr. Siah on a multitude of research projects involving pathogens of fish.
When Sarah is not working, she enjoys exploring the outdoors, painting, and looking at the wildlife, particularly looking for large moon snails and banana slugs.
Serena comes from a gaming background where her love for analyzing numbers and reconciling accounts grew. After a lengthy career as a Gaming Manager, she decided to go back to school to study Business Administration to pursue a career as a bookkeeper / administrator. She started at CAHS in January 2018 as a part time Office Administrator.
Born and raised in Campbell River, Serena moved to the mainland for a short period of time but missed the beauty of the island and returned. In her spare time, she loves spending time with her dogs and enjoys going camping.
Tina Podlasly, BFA, PDPP, Adv Dip GIS App
Tina holds a BFA (Visual Arts) and a teaching certificate from the University of Victoria and is also a graduate of the Advanced Diploma in GIS Applications program at Vancouver Island University. Tina joined BC CAHS in July 2012, after working in the aquaculture industry for four years. She brings to her position prior experience in social media management, occupational health & safety, emergency management, website design & maintenance, database design & administration & education.
In addition to spending time with her family, Tina enjoys artistic pursuits, the outdoors and her pets – a cat and a dog.
Dr. Wyth Marshall, BSc, Cert. Enviro Restor, PhD
Wyth joined the team at BC CAHS in 2010 as a Postdoctoral research fellow. She completed her PhD at the department of Botany at the University of British Columbia the previous year. She also holds a BSc in Biology and a certificate in Environmental Restoration from the University of Victoria. Her main research interest is in microbial ecology, specifically of parasites and aquatic disease organisms. Wyth’s PhD work involved the discovery and characterization of new genera and species of symbiotic protozoa (Ichthyosporea and Thraustochytridae), using phylogenetics, population genetics, light and electron microscopy. Previously she worked and volunteered with the shellfish parasitology group at the Pacific Biological Station (DFO). She also curates a tree of life page. http://tolweb.org/Ichthyosporea/121172
Currently she leads research aimed at understanding the ecology and life-history of Kudoa thyrsites, a myxozoan parasite of farmed Atlantic salmon. Funding for her position comes from an Industrial Research and Development Fellowship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).
When not at BC CAHS, Wyth loves windsurfing, gardening, and mushroom picking.