Board of Directors, Faculty, and Staff

Members of the MCERC Board of Directors volunteer their time and expertise in support of the mission to promote healthy ecosystems through cutting edge research, fostering productive collaborations, continuously improve organizational operations, and providing a platform of critical resources for faculty and staff.  All the members are conservationists who choose to be actively involved without compensation because they believe in MCERC's dedication to marine research, education, and creating opportunities for future scientists.

Chairperson, CFO

Andrea McLain, B.Sc., MHA

Andrea is the Chairperson for MCERC. She is currently the Dean of Natural and Health Sciences at Quincy College in Massachusetts and has decades of experience working in nonprofit science organizations. She is the lead administrator for the Steering Commitment for Continuous Improvement in MCERC’s business operations.

Andrea specializes in creating business plans with forward thinking for science and education entities. She brings a thorough understanding of the unique challenges inherent in funding nonprofit organizations and is committed to supporting the mission of non-profit, science and education organizations. Her extensive involvement in science and non-profit organizational infrastructure, business, and education provides a valuable resource in support of MCERC’s infrastructure and operations.


Vice Chairperson, Legal Advisor

Andrew Cutliff, Esq.

Andrew is the Vice Chairperson for MCERC and chairs the Legal Advisory Committee. He brings decades of experience in business and contract law and guides the process of reviewing contracts and agreements for the coastal center. Andrew is affiliated with several business in the United States as the chief advisor for contract review and negotiation. 

Executive Director, Chief Scientist, Faculty

Mithriel MacKay, B.Sc., M.Sc. MRM, Ph.D.

Dr. MacKay is the Director and founder of MCERC. Her vision of an inclusive research team that includes opportunities for professional development of the next generation of marine scientists,  and a place where citizen scientists can experience conservation, is the cornerstone of MCERC’s activities. A culture of collaboration with mutual appreciation and respect is infused throughout the organization and is the driving force propelling supportive relationships in our global partnerships.

Dr. MacKay’s approach to research is unique and exhibits a strong influence from her broad background in clinical laboratory medicine, pre-hospital emergency medicine, marine resources management, marine biology, and education. She has extensive experience in marine biology and ecology research, industry, policy, management. Graduate students and Principal Investigators of small research projects in need of funding are encouraged to reach out to Dr. MacKay and the MCERC staff as potential collaborations in an effort to support sparsley funded research and foster culture diversity and cooperation through science education. Dr. MacKay continues to reach a global audience through film with National Geographic, BBC Natural History Channel, OceanX Media, and Windfall Film projects. 


Treasurer, Scientific Advisor in GIS, Wildlife and Fisheries Science

Nicole Daigneault, B.Sc.

Nicole is an active member of the Board of Directors and Research Associate with a particular interest in wildlife ecology, herpetology, and invasive species in subtropical and tropical ecosystems. She is a long time member of the MCERC’s leadership with a terrestrial perspective for science and education and an active role in administrative operations. She currently provides  GIS mapping expertise for MCERC and as a professional in the county where she resides. Her background includes experience in marine mammal mitigation contracts, budgets for research and industry, and management. Nicole’s dedication to wildlife conservation is an important resource for compliance, operations, permitting, and research while she continues to be the point person for consultation in wildlife field programs at MCERC.

Secretary & Research Affiliate

Shakira Quiñones-Lebrón, B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D

 Dr. Quinones-Lebron is an experienced researcher and project manager with a particular interest in data organization and analysis. She has a broad background in biological sciences, scientific manuscript preparation for scientific publications, statistical analysis, and behavioral ecology.  Dr. Quinones-Lebron is a native of Puerto Rico, USA where she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the biological sciences. She received her doctor of philosophy in Slovenia where she resides and has continued to work in scientific research collaborations and currently contributes to marine mammal conservation as a researcher with the Morigenos – Marine Mammal Society.



Ex Officio, Information Technology

David Wallace

David has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2012 and brings extensive experience as an administrator and expert in Information Technology. He specializes in cyber security and infrastructure and currently is an assistant vice president for a major health care corporation in New England, USA.


David is the point person for designing a network to meet the challenges of managing research data, proprietary education programs, and administrative activity and advising on network security. MCERC programs and collaborations depend on smooth, secure, uninterrupted, connectivity across the globe during meetings, online classes, and field excursions. David is the advisor, guide, and navigator through a continuously evolving organization staying on the cutting edge of science and education technology.


Staff; Wildlife Ecology

Michael Corrigan, Scotland’s Ranger

Michael’s experience in natural resource management began in the 1970s at home, in Scotland. He has conducted surveys of flora and fauna from the borders to the Highlands including sea birds, small mammals, forestry, and marine mammals. Michael is an active participant in the British Marine Rescue response team for marine mammal strandings near Glasgow. He continues his work in conservation as a research assistant in marine mammal ecology and an advisor for wildlife ecology field program planning and outreach.


Adjunct Faculty, Comparative Anatomy

Joy Reidenberg B.A, M.Phil., Ph.D.

Dr Reidenberg is an expert in comparative anatomy with particular research interests in comparative anatomy of animal adaptations to environmental extremes. She has extensive experience in providing important data for cetacean mitigation strategies through her involvement in marine mammal strandings. Dr. Reidenberg is often educating the scientific community through presentations at professional conferences, teaching medical and graduate students, and as a presenter in films for several internationally recognized media production companies. 

Dr. Reidenberg’s passion for teaching topics such as anatomy, histology, radiology, and embryology are only exceeded by her passion for conservation of flora and fauna. Her keen interest in cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) is a valuable resource for MCERC programs and research effort. 

Adjunct Faculty

Laura Torre, B.Sc., M.Sc.

Laura is a marine scientist with expertise in conservation biology and a research focus on humpback whales nearshore on Australia’s Gold Coast. Her experience includes marine education in public tourism venues, as a visiting scholar with Griffith University, and working as part of several non-profit conservation organizations.

Laura’s research currently focuses on “Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) Mother-Calf Occurrence and Neonatal Ethology” with an effort to identify areas utilized as calving grounds. The next phase of Laura’s research includes a collaboration with MCERC’s Dr. MacKay which investigates “Neonatal Behaviors as Indicators for Post natal Development” along the Gold Coast.

Laura’s interests extend to introducing opportunities for more people to experience conservation near her home in New Zealand. She is a valuable member of MCERC faculty with a commitment to conservation through research and education while fostering collaborations with peers and colleagues. 

Faculty; Technology Advisor and UAS Specialist

Arief Aziz

Arief joined MCERC in 2017 as the expert in unmanned aerial systems (UAS/drones). He is certified internationally to operate UAS and participates in surveys during natural events to aid incident command and recovery teams in addition to flying commercial operations. Arief’s is an avid conservationist and long time band member playing percussion which makes him a great fit for MCERC programs and research projects.

Arief is the faculty member overseeing MCERC’s Drone Academy where building, operating, videography, and film production are the core programs in the curricula. Drones are more important than ever as a more affordable and less intrusive way of collecting research data for marine mammal investigations.