Meet Our Staff

Research Scientists

Dr. Brian Hickey

Program Leader Education / Research Scientist
613-936-6620 ext. 225

I received my graduate training in biology at York University where I studied behavioural and physiological variation of red (Lasiurus borealis) and hoary (Lasiurus cinereus) bats in response to changing environmental conditions. Since then, my research has involved both basic and applied aspects of this question. My current research efforts are directed at evaluating the responses of fish and wildlife communities to habitat degradation (habitat loss and mercury contamination), restoration efforts and ecological effects of water level variation. In addition to research, I oversee public education and outreach programs at the River Institute.

Research Interests

My research involves a wide range of taxa including bats, birds, fish and invertebrates, with a unifying theme to understand the role environmental variation plays in the responses of individual animals, and how these responses ultimately structure animal populations and communities.

Dr. Leigh McGaughey

Research Scientist
613-936-6620 ext. 224

Leigh is an ecologist, who started her career in South Africa where she completed a BSc (1994), BSc Honours (1995) and MSc (2000) degrees in Biological Sciences. In 2001 she moved to Australia and worked as a Research Assistant at Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute as part of the Abalone Research team to provide scientific support to the fishing industry. In 2005 she took up a scholarship for her PhD studies at the University of British Columbia, Canada, where she built an ecosystem model of a sub-Antarctic system which was used to explore past population dynamics and climate change scenarios. In 2010, Leigh was employed by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, based in Italy, as a Postdoctoral Grantholder where she worked on developing indicators for both fisheries and conservation applications.

Research Interests

Leigh’s expertise include invertebrate biology, stable isotopes, ecosystem modelling, remote sensing, ecosystem indicators and ecosystem services.

Dr. Mary Ann Perron

Mitacs Post-Doctoral Fellow
613-936-6620 ext. 306

I am a freshwater biologist with expertise in wetland ecosystems and urban ecology. I grew up in a small town in northern Ontario and spent my free time outdoors, usually on the water. I completed my B.Sc. Honours in Biology with a specialization in conservation and restoration ecology from Laurentian University in Sudbury (2010-2014). I then went on to complete my Ph.D. in Biology specializing in wetland ecosystems, entomology and urban ecology from the University of Ottawa (2014-2020). I have experience teaching in the classroom and in the field as well as running workshops for youth organizations. I am a certified wetland evaluator with skills in wetland plant identification, multivariate statistics and spatial analyses. I am currently involved in leading citizen science programs and collaborate in international efforts in insect conservation.

Research Interests

My research interests include wetlands, Odonatology (study of dragonflies and damselflies), conservation biology, botany, urban ecology, freshwater ecology, biostatistics and spatial analyses. I also have a keen interest in natural history.

Matthew Windle, MSc.

Research Scientist
613-936-6620 ext. 307

I am a biologist with experience in environmental science, freshwater ecosystem ecology, spatial analyses, contaminant analyses, and Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS). I completed a BSc in environmental science from Queen’s University, and a M.Sc. in Biology at Memorial University of Newfoundland. In addition to my work as a Research Scientist at the River Institute, I am also a professor in the Environmental Technician Program at St. Lawrence College. I possess certifications for open water SCUBA, the Ontario Stream Assessment Protocol (OSAP), Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) fish identification workshops, advanced operations and flight reviewer status for RPAS from Transport Canada, and the Ontario Wetland Evaluation System (OWES).

Research Interests

My research focuses on the ecological health of aquatic ecosystems, including studies of nearshore fish communities, species-at-risk, aquatic invasive species, contaminated sediments, and coastal wetlands. As a certified advanced drone pilot and Geographic Information Systems instructor, my research incorporates remote sensing and spatial analysis tools to study shifting trends, habitat interactions and large scale processes of freshwater ecosystems.

Dr. Barry Madison


I am a comparative animal- and environmental physiologist, and an ecotoxicologist, with focus on fishes. Aquatic animals have always been dear to my heart growing up in Kenora, Ontario, on beautiful Lake of the Woods, where I dedicated my life to understanding our piscine friends at an early age. 

I received my B.ScH and M.Sc in Biology from Queen’s University, and then continued on to a Ph.D in Zoology/Integrative Biology from the University of Guelph. I followed this with a postdoctoral fellowship at the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) and Queen’s School of Environmental Studies.

In addition to my role at the River Institute, I am an Adjunct Professor at Queen’s School of Environmental Studies and in the Department of Biology, where I also teach a variety of undergraduate lecture and laboratory courses on fish and comparative animal physiology.

My research interests are broad*, but my work follows thematically within a molecule-to-ecosystem framework. With the recent global circumstances, I have recentred my research interests toward strengthening community-driven science and advocacy for scientific education, training, and collaboration with local and community stakeholders. I am particularly driven to build engagement with local Indigenous partners to work toward building stronger connections with the scientific community, and my community.  

Our Staff

Christina Collard

Program Leader, Administration
and Fundraising

613-936-6620 ext 222

Louis Savard

Program Leader, RiverLabs
613-936-6620 ext 301

Pam Maloney

Fund Development Officer
613-936-6620 ext 240 (Voicemail only)

Jennifer Lauzon

Assistant Administrator
613-936-6620 ext 223

Crystal Martell

QA/QC Officer
613-936-6620 ext 227

Luc St. Pierre

Lab Coordinator
613-936-6620 ext 239

Cristina Charette, M.Sc.

Education Coordinator

Lexy Harquail

Environmental Educator / Biologist
613-936-6620 ext 308

Stephanie Guernon, M.Sc.

Environmental Educator / Biologist
613-936-6620 ext 237

Stephany Hildebrand

Research Assistant / Technician

Josh Filion

Project Support Specialist

Lee Theodore

Project Coordinator

Evan Rundle

Research Assistant/Technician

Emily Cormier

Research Assistant/Technician

Sebastien Deschamps

Lab Technician

River Institute Board of Directors

Trea Tuck

HET Law, Henderson, Eastwood, Tuck: Chair

Glen Grant

Community member;
First Vice Chair

Jackie Baird

Cornwall Electric: Treasurer

Stephen Alexander

Community member; Secretary


Debora Daigle

Community member

John Gleed

Community Member

Diana Rourke

Manager BASF Plant

Scott Gagnon


Scott Lecky

Ramada Hotel

Mireille Lemire


Jean Marc Gladu

Community member

Kirsten Gardner

Warden and United Counties of S. D. & G. Representative

Jennifer Haley

St. Lawrence College, Representative

Todd Bennett

City of Cornwall Representative

Chief April Adams-Philips

Mohawk Council of Akwesasne Representative

River Institute Foundation Board of Directors

Patrick Finucan


Meagan McDonald

Vice Chair

John McDonald


Maureen Adams


David MacKinnon


Trea Tuck

River Institute Representative