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Meet Our Visiting Scientists

Penikese Island School is grateful to all of our visiting scientists and island guides for their enthusiasm to engage our campers in science, art and nature exploration this summer. As we continue to coordinate instructor scheduling, please feel free reach out to the Penikese Island Staff for additional information:

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Karen Echeverri, Ph.D.

Dr. Echeverri is on the cutting edge of bio-medical research studying cellular and molecular regeneration in her laboratory at the Marine Biological Laboratory.

Karen will be showing Penikese campers the miraculous ability of invertebrates to regenerate tissue and function. How does YOUR body heal itself?

Catherine McCusker, Ph.D.

Dr. McClusker is an expert in developmental biology and the molecular mechanisms of regeneration in her lab at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Kate will be teaching campers about scientific inquiry using microscopy, introducing different biological models. What can we discover about humans by examining marine organisms?

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Loretta Roberson, Ph.D.

Dr. Roberson is Associate Scientist at Marine Biological Laboratory with research interests in environmental protection, coral biology and ecology, and sustainable energy.

She is interested in how organisms respond to human impacts on coastal marine systems. Two specific projects include: (1) using a tropical red seaweed as a sustainable biofuel and (2) understanding the mechanisms of calcifications in corals.  

Loretta will teach campers about the biology of corals and their important place in marine ecosystems. ​

Dr. Jeffrey M Schell

Dr. Schell is a Professor of Oceanography, and a Program Director for SEA Education. 

Using marine environmental history, science illustration and storytelling, Dr. Schell asks students to think about and discuss how modern fishing and ocean pollution adversely impact Pelagic Sargassum habitats, the animals and plants that rely on these habitats and each of us.

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Nathalie Ward, Ph.D.

With an MS in Cultural Anthropology and PhD in Conservation Biology, Dr. Ward is a marine biologist, conservation educator, and marine mammal policy consultant.

Nathalie works with students around questions such as, how humanity and the earth are affected by the protection and conservation of marine endangered species and their habitats?

More Scientists

Luanne Johnson and Liz Baldwin:

Luanne is the Director and Liz is the Assistant Director of BiodiversityWorks on Martha's Vineyard. Their mission is to promote conservation of biodiversity through wildlife research and monitoring. They study and monitor local species on Martha's Vineyard, including endangered birds, the Northern Long-eared bat, and local snakes!

Emma Green-Beach:

Emma is a shellfish biologist and the Executive Director of the Martha's Vineyard Shellfish Group. The MVSG grows millions of quahog, scallop, and oyster "seed" for the Shellfish Departments on Martha's Vineyard each year. They also work on oyster habitat restoration and eelgrass restoration. 

Kendra Buresch:

Kendra is a biologist who works in the Hanlon lab at the Marine Biological Laboratory: She studies sensory perception and camouflage in cephalopods (with a focus on octopus and cuttlefish). She is exited to share information with campers about the unique ways that these animals experience their world. Kendra lives on the Vineyard, and has a soft spot for the island of Penikese. She is also a naturalist who is particularly interested in the birds that call Penikese their home for the summer. 

Lydia Mäthger:

Lydia studies vision and animal coloration at the Marine Biological Laboratory. She has studied the structural and physiological properties of pigments and reflectors in cephalopods and fish. Lydia's current research focus is on the optical functions of animal pupils and how these affect vision and behavior.

Duygu Özpolat:

B. Duygu Özpolat is a scientist and a visual artist currently working at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole. Özpolat earned her Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from Tulane University in New Orleans, and her B.Sc. in Biology from Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. Özpolat’s laboratory at the MBL studies stem cells and regeneration. She also makes science-themed art (SciArt) inspired by scientific research. For Özpolat, art and science are intrinsically linked through the process of inquiry, experimentation, and technique, for pushing the boundaries of the known and the explored. Özpolat’s artwork and scientific publications can be found at

Lisa Abbo:

Lisa Abbo is the veterinarian at the Marine Biological Laboratory. Lisa has been working there for a little over 4 years. Her primary responsibility is to oversee the health and welfare of the animals used in research at the MBL. Lisa also collaborates on research projects and conducts her own research. Her most recent project was on anesthesia in cephalopods. Right now, Lisa is working on a nutrition study in juvenile horseshoe crabs. Her two favorite parts of the job are meeting interesting people from all over the world and learning something new every day. Lisa's favorite terrestrial animal is the lemur and her favorite aquatic animal is the horseshoe crab - because everyone always asks me what my favorite animals are!"

Gabrielle Sakolsky:

Gabrielle is an entomologist and is the Superintendent of the Cape Cod Mosquito Control Project.

Taylor Heyl:

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

Ben Van Mooy:

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

Dave Remsen:

Dave is the Director of Marine Resource Services at the Marine Biological Laboratory.

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