What's New in Research
Brock researchers partner with community groups on unique children’s learning initiative
February 4, 2014
Thanks to community support from a local Niagara school board and dog therapy program, a Brock University professor is researching the role that animals play in promoting basic social and emotional competencies in children.
The project, led by developmental psychologist Christine Tardif-Williams, is looking at children from St. David’s Public School who have been taking part in a “reading buddy” program offered by Therapy Tails Ontario, a non-profit group from Welland, Ont.
Every week Grade 1 and 2 students at the school are paired with a dog that they interact with and read to for about 20 minutes. The goal of the activity is to help develop a companion animal bond for the children in the context of a reading activity.
But Tardif-Williams’ research is about more than just observing children reading to a “dog buddy.”
Brock University part of online scavenger hunt to promote research
January 31, 2014
Think you’re a good detective? Now’s the time to brush up on your clue-hunting skills!
Every weekday during February, Research Matters will be releasing a video “clue” through its Virtual Scavenger Hunt website that in turn will take amateur sleuths to the website of one of Ontario’s 21 universities.
Student ambassadors from each of the participating universities will deliver daily video clues via email to registered contestants whose answers can be hunted down online. Clues will also be available on the Research Matters’ website.
Contestants gather answers to the clues, which relate to research projects happening at the universities. Intrepid scavengers who get all 21 clues correct will be able to unlock a secret message that they can then submit to be entered for grand prizes. There are also daily prizes.
Lecture series has global impact for grape and wine institute
January 30, 2014
What a difference a year makes.
Last winter, oenologist Belinda Kemp was sitting in her home in England, watching live webcasts of Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute’s (CCOVI) Lecture Series.
“The CCOVI webcasts were a great resource for me,” Kemp said. “In fact they’re a great resource for the wine industry and wine researchers anywhere in the world.”
This year she’s a researcher at Brock and will be one of the presenters in the 2014 edition of the renowned lecture series.
Kemp, the latest addition to the CCOVI team, will take the podium on March 17 to speak about her research on managing tannins during wine production.
Another award for chemistry prof Hudlicky
January 24, 2014
The award recognizes an organic chemist who has made a distinguished contribution to any area of organic chemistry and is currently working in Canada.
“This is a great honour,” says Hudlicky, who holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Organic Synthesis and Biocatalysis (the use of biological methods to manufacture chemicals).
Hudlicky and his research group focus on converting compounds that are often considered to be industrial wastes into compounds that can be used in pain and cancer medicines. Specifically, the researchers create synthetic versions of morphine and derivatives, Tamiflu-like drugs, and pancratistatin, a powerful anti-cancer agent.
Minister visits Brock during provincewide consultations on women’s issues
January 10, 2014
Invest in more training opportunities for girls and women, especially in “male-dominated” occupations.
Ensure that we nurture resiliency in young women so that they can cope with the demands of a fickle, tough job market.
Provide relevant, comprehensive education and career counselling for young women about to leave high school.
Create a childcare strategy that supports young mothers furthering their education.
These were some of the suggestions students and faculty put forth in a recent roundtable discussion with Teresa Piruzza, provincial minister of children and youth services.
Piruzza, who is also minister responsible for women’s issues, visited Brock University Jan. 7 as part of provincewide consultations to create the ministry’s strategy for the next five years.
VineAlert program helps protect vineyards during frigid temperatures
January 3, 2014
With extreme cold weather alerts across most of the province, Ontario vineyards are also feeling the chill. With next year’s grape crop at risk from the frigid temperatures, researchers at Brock University have issued a grapevine cold hardiness alert for growers across the province.
VineAlert, a program operated by Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), tracks a grape bud’s ability to survive cold temperatures over the dormant season from October to April. The alert system indicates at what temperature different varieties would see damage when cold weather events occur. This helps growers know when wind machines or other freeze avoidance methods are warranted to protect buds and vines from winter injury.
“In some regions, potentially damaging temperatures are in the forecast,” says CCOVI viticulturist Jim Willwerth. “From our latest cold hardiness testing, the most sensitive cultivars (Merlot, Sauvignon blanc and Syrah) may sustain some freeze damage when temperatures drop below -19C.”
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