B I O
Dr. Sunila accomplished her Ph.D. Thesis in physiological zoology at the University of Helsinki in Finland in 1987. She lived at the Tvärminne Zoological Station in the northern Baltic archipelago for several years, sampling blue mussels in the field, studying their pathology and exposing mussels to environmental pollutants in the laboratory. She continued her research on bivalve diseases at the Cooperative Oxford Laboratory in Maryland. After that she accepted a position as a research scientist at George Washington University Medical Center, Department of Pathology in an AIDS research group.
For 20 years Dr. Sunila worked for the State of Connecticut, Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Aquaculture in Milford, CT as the State Shellfish Pathologist/Environmental Laboratory Director. She monitored and managed CT’s bivalves for different shellfish diseases, developed disease-resistant strains and performed health certifications for imported seed. From 2000-2003 she was also Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Connecticut, College of Agriculture, Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Sciences.
After retiring from State service, Dr. Sunila relocated in Lake Worth, Florida, to continue research on southern marine ecosystems. Dr. Sunila is known as a scientist who doesn’t hesitate to get her hands dirty and knows how to retrieve samples from the sea. She is involved in several grant-funded bivalve research programs, has numerous publications and has taught several students from different universities from all over the world.