Premier tours campus visits labs

Premier Kathleen Wynne was given insight into some of Brock University’s many research initiatives during a campus visit Friday, Jan. 13.Wynne spent the morning touring labs and talking with researchers in Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) as well as the Centre for Lifespan Development Research.Her stop in CCOVI included a discussion with Senior Scientist Jim Willwerth, who told the premier about Vine Alert and other research-based initiatives at Brock that work with and support Ontario’s grape growers and the wine industry.“We talked about the research we’re doing in our lab, how our Cold Hardiness programs are helping the grape and wine industry, and how we’re helping to prevent crop loss due to winter injury,” Willwerth said.He felt it was also an opportunity to showcase Brock’s engagement with the industry and its efforts to aid the sector through research and innovation.Having a prominent politician in the labs provides invaluable exposure not only for the University but also for the entire grape and wine community, Willwerth said.He credited the Ontario government for financially supporting research in the viticulture sector and efforts such as those as Brock aimed at improving the sustainability of the industry.Psychology Professor Teena Willoughby, co-director of the Lifespan Centre Transdisciplinary Hub, had an opportunity to walk Wynne through a new research project that looks at youth mental and physical health, and how it interacts with brain development.“Having the Premier here provides a lot of visibility” for the University and its researchers, Willoughby said, calling it a benefit, given Wynne’s heavy involvement with various agencies across Ontario.“It can really help us open doors… I do think the more people we make aware of what we’re doing here, the more people will know and support our research.”That exposure can be particularly important with projects, similar to the one now underway in Lifespan, that require many agency and community partnerships in order to be successful, Willoughby said.During her campus visit, Wynne also met with Experiential Education students, representatives from the Brock University Students’ Union and The Brock Press.

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