Speakers and Wetlabs


Maureen Murray, DVM

Clinical Assistant Professor, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, North Grafton, Massachusetts

Kelly Donithan, MS

Wildlife Rescue Program Officer, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Kelly is currently the Wildlife Rescue Program Officer for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, based at the international headquarters on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. IFAW’s wildlife rescue projects span the globe and include grizzly bear cub rescue and rehabilitation in Canada, orphan brown bear rehabilitation in Russia, Amur tiger rehabilitation in Russia’s Far East, raptor rehabilitation in China, an elephant orphanage in Zambia, wildlife rescue and rehabilitation in India, and rescue and sanctuary placement of displaced big cats in the U.S. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona and a Master’s of Science in Conservation Medicine from the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. During her graduate studies, she completed a case study on the health and conservation concerns of international wildlife trade and investigated zoonotic disease risks at U.S exotic animal auctions. At IFAW, Kelly is also looking at the welfare concerns of live wildlife seized from trade and the potential of increasing rehabilitation and release efforts of such animals when feasible. She has been involved with wildlife rehabilitation and care in Arizona, Florida, and New England and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council.

Geoffrey Groocock, DVM, PhD

Veterinarian, Transit Animal Hospital, Depew, New York

Geof Groocock spent entirely too much time at Cornell, receiving his BS in 1998 and DVM in 2003.  He spent two years in private practice on Long Island before returning to Cornell in 2005 as an Extension Associate in the Aquatic Animal Health Program.  He worked closely with local, state and federal agencies in everything from the diagnosis and treatment of fish diseases, to surgical implantation of tracking tags.  Soon after his return, the outbreak of the deadly fish disease Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia virus (VSHV) in the Great Lakes began, and he then spent the next 7 years living and breathing VHSV, from large scale Great Lakes surveillance programs to infection trials.  He received his PhD in 2013 on VHSV research.  Since 2013 he has moved to Buffalo with his family, where he is a Veterinarian at Transit Animal Hospital, focusing mainly on small animals with a healthy side of fish medicine and surgery.  He is a committee chair for the upcoming 2015 American Fisheries Society Fish Health Section meeting and a consultant for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for fish diseases.

Charles Innis, VMD, DABVP-RA

Director of Animal Health, New England Aquarium, Boston, Massachusetts

Dr. Charles Innis received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Cornell University and his doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. He has been working full time at New England Aquarium since 2005, where he is currently Director of Animal Health. He holds adjunct teaching positions at Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Connecticut, and Mount Ida College; is a member of the IUCN Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group, the IUCN Marine Turtle Specialist Group; and is Past President of the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians. Dr. Innis became certified as a specialist in reptile and amphibian medicine by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in 2011.

Justin Richard, PhD Candidate

PhD Candidate, University of Rhode Island, North Stonington, Connecticut

Justin Richard received his BA in biology from Connecticut College and then worked as a beluga whale trainer at Mystic Aquarium for 9 years.  Currently, he is in the Integrative and Evolutionary Biology PhD program at the University of Rhode Island studying beluga reproduction at Mystic Aquarium.  His PhD research is based on collaborations with zoos and aquariums throughout the US and Canada, as well as field work in Arctic Canada and Alaska.  He is especially interested in the study of trained marine mammals and the application of minimally-invasive sampling techniques.

Kathryn Tuxbury, MS, DVM

Associate Veterinarian, New England Aquarium, Boston, Massachusetts

Dr. Kathryn Tuxbury is currently an Associate Veterinarian at New England Aquarium in Boston. She is a 2005 graduate of Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine. Prior to veterinary school, she obtained her Master of Science degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Iowa State University and then worked as a research biologist at Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary where she studied cold-stunned sea turtles, shorebirds and horseshoe crabs. Upon graduation from Tufts, she completed internships in small animal medicine and surgery at New England Animal Medical Center, West Bridgewater, MA and Aquarium and Zoo Medicine at National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD.  She then worked for several years in small animal/exotics practice prior to her current position. Dr. Tuxbury has a wide range of animal interests including marine mammals, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates.

Alexandra Zelazo-Kessler, MA

Lead Bird Keeper, Virginia Zoo, Norfolk, Virginia

Alex Zelazo-Kessler received her BA from Smith College and her Master’s degree in Zoo Management from George Mason University. She has worked professionally with birds in AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) accreditated zoos for over twelve years. Currently, she is the Lead Bird Keeper at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk, VA. She has presented at ABMA (Animal Behavior Management Alliance) and AZA conferences. Though she is passionate about all aspects of aviculture she her current interests lie in enrichment and nutrition and she especially enjoys working with parrots, hornbills, and cassowaries.

Wet Labs:

Undergraduates and Professionals:

  • Comparative Anatomy Necropsy
  • Exotic Animal Hematology

Veterinary students:

  • Turtle Shell Repair
  • Exotic Animal Physical Exam
  • Exotic Animal Hematology