Our Team - Bios


Jim Powell Elan Downey Kim Bull
Wyth Marshall
Ahmed Siah Garnet Martens Serena MacLean Zina Richmond
Debbie Collins Heather Brown
Tina Podlasly Shayla Sopracolle-Tate
Kendall Plant  



Dr. Jim Powell, PhD - Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Jim PowellDr. Jim Powell has over 30 years experience in the areas of fisheries and aquaculture sciences and is an established authority on fish reproduction and broodstock management both locally and internationally. His primary work has been in the area of fish physiology and adaptive management strategies of fish culture for a range of fresh- and salt-water species. He has extensive experience in aquaculture drug development, testing, registration and implementation in addition to work in fish health. Most recently, Jim was involved in fisheries and aquaculture management in the recreational and conservation sector with involvement in threatened and endangered species recovery. Dr. Powell is a founding Board member of the BC CAHS and has served on the board since inception.


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Dr. Ahmed Siah, PhD - Research Scientist/Microbiology Diagnostician


Ahmed SiahAhmed 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.


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Debbie Collins, Cert. Card. Tech., Cert. Lead. - Laboratory Technician

Debbie CollinsDebbie 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.


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Elan Downey, BSc - Research Assistant

Elan DowneyElan received her Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from the Univ. of Victoria (BC) in 1986. Previous to joing 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.


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Garnet Martens, BSc, MSc – Laboratory Manager

Garnet MartensGarnet holds a BSC and MSc in Biology from the University of Victoria (1995, 2000) where he studied morphological changes.  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.


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Heather Brown, BSc, Dipl.F&A - Research Assistant

Heather BrownHeather joined the BC CAHS team in January 2012 bringing with her a strong interest in fish and knowledge of the aquaculture industry. She earned a BSc in Marine & Freshwater Biology from the University of Guelph in 2009 and a diploma in Fisheries & Aquaculture the following year from Vancouver Island University. Heather is the Research Assistant for the Kudoa Mitigation Project here at BC CAHS conducting field sampling, lab procedures, and research.


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Kim Bull, BSc - Laboratory Technician

Kim BullKim 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.


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Serena MacLean - Office Administrator

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, husband and enjoys going camping.


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Tina Podlasly, BFA, PDPP, Adv Dip GIS App - Corporate Manager

Tina PodlaslyTina 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.


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Dr. Wyth Marshall, BSc, Cert. Enviro Restor, PhD – Research Scientist


Wyth MarshallWyth 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.


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Zina Richmond, BSc - Senior Laboratory Technician

Zina RichmondZina studied at the University of Alberta in Edmonton majoring in Chemistry and Biology. Zina has worked as a Research Technologist for the past twenty-six years in the areas of immunology and vaccinology. Zina joined the Centre in 2006. Her duties include viral assays, tissue culture, immunological assays and quantitative PCR.

Zina loves running - half-marathons are particularly enjoyable as well as swimming, cycling, biking, and walking her dog.


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Shayla Sopracolle-Tate, BSc - Laboratory Technician

Shayla Sopracolle-Tate had the privilege to grow up on Quadra Island where her admiration for the ocean began. During high school she started as a volunteer for BC CAHS and then was part of the opening of the Discovery Passage Aquarium. She has recently graduated from Quest University Canada, with a BSc in Liberal Arts and Science. In addition, Shayla has taken the opportunity to travel the world with her studies from the Arctic to the Amazon. Her academic focus has been in biological oceanography, and biodiversity conservation. For her major undergraduate research project, she completed a systematic review of marine protected areas in biodiversity hotspots in order to increase their effectiveness. Shayla is currently participating in virology work as a lab technician with BC CAHS. Otherwise, you will likely find her in the ocean, on a boat, scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming or surfing.



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Kendall Plant, BSc - Laboratory Technician

Kendall PlantKendall was born and raised in the small towns of the East Kootenay, leaving her to miss the mountains, but she is enjoying all the sights Vancouver Island has to offer. Kendall is joining the team as a recent UVic graduate with her Bachelors of Science in Microbiology. She is excited to be rejoining the lab after completing her coop as a virology technician at the facility in 2017. Currently she is a technician performing PCR and qPCR diagnostics.

Outside of work you can find her baking something delicious, or curled up with a warm blanket and hot chocolate reading a good book.


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