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About NPRB
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A Word

From Our Executive Director

“I am continually impressed by the collective dedication and tenacity of this broader community to seek answers to important questions affecting our coastal communities, fisheries, livelihoods, and the health of the North Pacific marine ecosystems. The people and institutions responsible for ensuring the health of our marine resources, and the individuals and industries that depend on them, all benefit from NPRB-funded research.”

– Lynn Palensky


The NPRB staff provides support to the Board, Panels, and principal investigators engaged in research. Most of our staff have worked for NPRB for more than 8 years building and fostering relationships among our stakeholders and diverse user groups. While our skill sets and experiences may vary across our team, we are all passionate and dedicated to support the very best science happening in and around Alaska’s marine environments.

Lynn Palensky, MPA

Lynn Palensky, MPA

Executive Director

Lynn has served as NPRB’s Executive Director since 2020. She brings twenty-plus years of fisheries-related grants and program management experience, most recently with the Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council in Portland, OR. Read More

Matt Baker, PhD

Matt Baker, PhD

Science Director

Dr. Matthew Baker is the Science Director at the North Pacific Research Board, where he manages staff, coordinates relations with external partners, and provides oversight for all science programs at NPRB. Previously, he worked at the NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center in the resource assessment and resource ecology and fishery management divisions and also the University of Washington Alaska Salmon Program. Read More

Jo-Ann Mellish, PhD

Jo-Ann Mellish, PhD

Senior Program Manager | Chief Grants and Operations Officer

Jo-Ann is a recovering academic with 15+ years of marine mammal field experience. She now applies her data skills to operational budgets, leverages team leadership experience to wrangling proposal reviewers, and draws on prior field experience to provide administrative and moral support to grantees.

Danielle Dickson, MSC

Danielle Dickson, MSC

Senior Program Manager, IERP & LTM | Chief Officer for Collaboration and Synthesis

Danielle manages the Integrated Ecosystem Research Program (IERP) and Long-Term Monitoring (LTM) Program. Prior to joining NPRB in 2011, Danielle worked as a marine mammal biologist for several years, including work for a private consulting firm and an Alaska Native co-management organization. Read More

Kayla Wagenfehr

Kayla Wagenfehr

Office Manager

Kayla joined NPRB in 2019 as the Office Manager and Program Support. Kayla received a bachelor’s in environmental science from National University. Kayla has varied work experience including customer service, public service, and laboratory experience.

Brendan Smith

Brendan Smith

Communication & Outreach Director

Brendan joined NPRB as their Communications and Outreach Director in 2014. He manages the Outreach Program and the day-to-day communication responsibilities for the organization. Prior to NPRB, Brendan has worked for National Geographic, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Alaska SeaLife Center, and is also a professional photographer.

who we serve

Engaging with different stakeholders and user groups

In consultation with the research community and under the guidance of NPRB leadership, staff members develop research priorities and direction, draft program-specific requests for proposals, facilitate the submission and review of proposals, coordinate interactions and collaboration with industry, agency, academic, and other institutional partners, develop and maintain internal systems, manage data, develop reports, and manage programs.

Staff members also are actively engaged in the scientific and research community. They conduct directed research, participate in research and management advisory groups, facilitate research collaboration, and coordinate and chair sessions at scientific meetings and conferences.