Meet the Executive Board
The Executive Board manages the day to day operations and long-term strategic planning for the organization. The Executive Board adheres to the Constitution and Bylaws that govern the organization. Each position volunteers a two year commitment. The President-Elect transitions to President in their second year.
A fish hobbyist for the last 24 years, Josh Barber has turned his lifelong obsession into a career working with aquatic species in animal research. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in general biology from Wheaton College and a Master’s degree in biotechnology from Columbia University. He has spent the last 13 years in the aquatic research field during which he assisted many new and existing laboratories get up to speed with the latest operating procedures in aquatic husbandry and facility management. He worked as an aquatic specialist at the National Institutes of Health through Charles River Laboratories. He then took a position developing transgenic zebrafish at HHMI Janelia Research Campus from 2011 to 2015, growing the facility from two racks and a single investigator to twenty racks and a dozen researchers. In 2015 he was hired by Columbia University, to oversee their zebrafish facilities along with several other fish and amphibian species with over forty researchers. During this time, he taught several webinars on aquatics, gave talks at National AALAS, Aquaculture America and the National Conference for Black Veterinarians, and published in CAALAS, LASPro, CompMed and Nature's Lab Animal. He believes there is a lack of aquatics talks and panels at lab animal conventions and passionately advocates for more to help grow the community. His hobbies include improv comedy, and shore fishing.
Michelle Altemara has over nine years of zebrafish husbandry experience and manages the Zebrafish Aquaculture Core (ZAC) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received a BS in Biology with a minor in Chemistry in 1998 and a MS in Marine Science in 2007 from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Her career journey began in GMP laboratories as a chemist, microbiologist, quality assurance reviewer, and trainer, followed by a short stint as a Biology instructor. All of these experiences led to a career in aquatic lab animal husbandry. She has successfully managed the ZAC with the knowledge gained from sources such as the ZFIN web site, the GSCC Zebrafish Husbandry Education Workshop, the Tecniplast Annual International Zebrafish Husbandry Course, and colleagues on the ZHA listserv. Michelle is now the Exotics Husbandry Manager overseeing all fish, amphibians, and reptiles on campus. She is currently establishing a Killifish colony and plans to continue investigating the use of analgesics in zebrafish. As a member of the zebrafish community, Michelle would like to contribute to the progress of the standardization of care, enrichment, and stress relief provided to lab animals.
Joan Hedge is a Biologist with the US EPA in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina where she has worked for the past 29 years. She received a BS in Animal Science in 1988 and a MS in Physiology in 1994, both from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. She is currently a zebrafish colony manager and is lucky enough to also conduct toxicology research with zebrafish embryos/larvae.
Joan started working in rodent research which included both acute and developmental neurotoxicity with an emphasis on thyrotoxic endocrine disruptors using the rat model. More recently, over the past 10 years or so, her research interests have shifted to focus on zebrafish husbandry and colony maintenance, as well as developmental neurotoxicity in the zebrafish model system. Joan has authored or coauthored over 30 peer reviewed publications, and also serves on an IACUC.
Joan has really enjoyed meeting colleagues through the ZHA and in zebrafish training classes over the years. Additionally, she loves the educational seminars the ZHA presents and looks forward to helping set those up along with organizing social events during her term as Vice President.
Nicholas Fiorella is the Zebrafish Facility Coordinator and Operations Specialist within Comparative Medicine Services at Tufts University. He received a BA in Intelligence and National Security and a BS in Marine Science with a focus on geopolitical and socioeconomic effects on fisheries from Coastal Carolina University. Currently Nick will be graduating in December with his Master of Science in Engineering Management from Tufts University. From tidal pools to vernal pools Nick has had a curiosity of aquatic environments and the animals in or around them. Prior to Tufts Nick has worked as an Aquarist at Shark Reef Aquarium in Las Vegas and several years with NOAA as an ASM IFS Fisheries Observer. With a combination of intellectual curiosity and a strong business mindset, Nick hopes to maintain and elevate ZHA finances to better serve the community along with the rest of the E-Board.
Logan Fehrenbach is the Lead Aquatic Technical Specialist at the Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. He received his B.S. in Biology at Northern Kentucky University. After receiving his bachelor’s degree, he went on to obtain an M.S. in Biology with a focus in Herpetology at California State University, Fullerton. While obtaining his master’s degree, his research focused mostly on two lizard species located in dry habitats. Once he graduated from California State University, Fullerton, he started his transition from working with mostly terrestrial animals to working with completely aquatic animals and began working with zebrafish around four and a half years ago. When he first started working with zebrafish, his facility only had two racks, one researcher, and himself to run the facility. He has played a large role in growing the zebrafish program at his institution who now has twenty- six racks, multiple researchers, and three staff members to run the facility. During his time working with zebrafish, he has pursued several research and educational efforts to help broaden the understanding of zebrafish husbandry including recently having a paper published in Comparative Medicine about the temperatures a box of live fish experience in the shipping process, teaching multiple seminars on zebrafish husbandry, and giving a workshop and serving on a panel at National AALAS. Logan has also served a role in his local community participating in educational outreach opportunities mentoring local high school students and teaching them about career opportunities available in the scientific community. He has been a standing member of the ZHA since he started working with zebrafish and looks forward to possibly serving the community in a larger role.
Dr. Yara Zayed is the Zebrafish Facility Research Manager at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, Canada. She has a Ph.D. in molecular biology and the genetics of zebrafish at York University and did her M.Sc. and HBSc. at the University of Toronto. She also held two post-doctoral fellowships using zebrafish for neuroscience and genetic research. During the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, Dr. Zayed was one of the few essential personnel allowed on site, responsible for the husbandry and well-being of the zebrafish in the Research Vivarium. While research was not allowed for many months at that time of the shut down, she re-structured and re-established the zebrafish facility at St. Michael's Hospital, significantly improving the health of the fish and tripling the size of 12 dpf larvae. As a Ph.D candidate, Dr. Zayed was actively involved in community service, chairing the Events Committee as well as the Graduate Student Association, for which she received the Peter Moens/AGSBS Graduate Award in Biology. Through serving the student body, she was able to improve many processes at the student association. She also provided support and guidance to many graduate students. Dr. Zayed also organized and executed many events and brought the association out of a deficit, ending the year in a significant surplus through raising funds at useful events and attracting investors. With her experience, Dr. Zayed will be a valuable addition as an Executive of Industry and Association Partnerships on the Executive Board of the Zebrafish Husbandry Association and is looking forward to serving the zebrafish community.
Dr Claire Allen arrived at the University of Sheffield back in 2000, as a research associate, and worked as a zebrafish developmental biologist for 8 years (until 2008). Within this time she held a stock project license (PPL, UK Home Office requirement) for a reverse genetics library, which created desirable genetically modified (GM lines; pre-CRISPR). In 2008 she moved into the role of facility manager because of her knowledge of the law and interests in the 3Rs. Over the last 14 years she has helped to implement many changes to the running of the Sheffield zebrafish facility, improving housing, diet, breeding success and research support tools. Claire was voted onto the ZHA board in 2018 and served as president elect and president the following year. Claire is an active member of the ZHA and was on the organising committee for the ZHA European Meeting held at the Crick, London 2022.
Nominations for open Executive Board seats start in the Fall with elections following shortly thereafter. Email email@example.com if you wish to nominate yourself or another member. Nominations and voting are reserved for ZHA members in good standing.