Students at Deep Bay Marine Station

Our Team

The Centre for Seafood Innovation has a small team of seafood sector experts who lead and facilitate on CSI’s applied research, public education, and workforce attraction projects.

Debra Hellbach

Debra Hellbach

Manager, Centre for Seafood Innovation

Debra became Manager, Seafood Innovation Centre in April, 2021. Debra brings a wealth of experience in the food processing industry, including seafood and shellfish processing, to Vancouver Island University.

Olivia Alexander Profile

Olivia Alexander

Research and Community Project Coordinator

Olivia brings a wealth of knowledge in marine systems, scientific communication and public education to the team. With a graduate degree in marine sciences and a Bachelor's in wildlife biology, Olivia shares her passion for applied research and education in CSI’s projects and engagement activities.

Andrew Loudon

Dr. Andrew Loudon

VIU Microbiology Professor

Research and Cross-disciplinary Course Development, CSI

Andy specializes in microbial ecology. He is keenly interested in food fermentation and applying his and his students’ knowledge to produce safe and delicious food. Andy is very excited to work with CSI and Culinary to provide students with real-world learning opportunities.

Current and Past Students

Sydney CSI Student

Sydney Aird

Event & Communications Assistant

Sydney recently joined CSI as an Event Assistant and is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Biology at Vancouver Island University, with a focus on microbiology and ecology. She began her education in environmental studies at the University of Victoria, which ignited her passion for sustainability and local food systems. At CSI, Sydney is thrilled to share information on sustainable seafood with the public.

Sydney's primary area of research interest is fermentation. After participating in the first Urchin Tank event hosted by CSI, she was inspired to pursue seaweed fermentation as her undergraduate research project. Sydney hopes her research will demonstrate seaweed's potential as a nutrient-rich, flavorful, and sustainable food source. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting with fermentation and canning, and greatly values food preservation.

Advisory Committee

The Centre is guided by an external advisory committee with the connections and experience to help steer our operations.

CSI's Partners

Key CSI partners are Vancouver Island University’s research centres, and its experienced faculty and undergraduate/graduate students.

Deep Bay Marine Field Station

The university’s Deep Bay Marine Field Station is a shellfish research facility open to the public and equipped with touch tanks, aquariums and exhibits to teach visitors about shellfish aquaculture.

Centre for Shellfish Research

The Centre for Shellfish Research conducts research on shellfish production and industry competitiveness, on development of new shellfish products, and on the economic diversification of B.C.’s coastal communities.

Vancouver Island University

VIU’s Faculties of Science and Technology, Trades and Applied Technology, Management and Social Sciences contain dozens of experts and their students, all positioned to help support BC foodpreneurs.

Links to Resources

The Centre for Seafood Innovation will offer foodpreneurs and established seafood value chain players access to expertise, technology, and services required to foster innovation and competitiveness.