Working with a local elementary school, uLethbridge alumna and neuroscience researcher Dr. Robbin Gibb (BASc (BSc) ’77, MSc ’01, PhD ’04) is taking leading brain research right into the classroom to create a brighter future for the next generation.

“The part of the brain I’m interested is the prefrontal cortex. It’s the part of the brain that supports executive function. These functions are what help us become successful in life and they include things like working memory, flexible thinking and behavioural inhibition,” explains Gibb. “Increasing executive function makes a difference in a child's brain development, setting them up for success in learning and in life.”

Gibb has developed curriculum to help enhance executive function skills with children in their early years. She’s teamed up with Lynn Wytrykusz, an early education program manager at Westminster Elementary School in Lethbridge, who has implemented the curriculum into her classroom through games and activities.

“We are embedding the messages from these games in all the activities we do so the children are spending every day getting quality practise with those skills,” says Wytrykusz.

For Gibb, seeing the impact of the research in Wytrykusz’s classroom is especially meaningful.

“We have the opportunity to get right into the core of what’ happening in our society and try to have an impact based on what we’ve learned from the research we do in the labs,” says Gibb. “I believe with positive and intentional experiences, we can make a difference in a child’s brain development and in their academic performance.”

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Learn more by taking part in Brain Awarness Week

Free Public Talk
How your Brain Maps the World
Dr. G. Campbell Teskey, Hotchkiss Brain Institute & Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, University of Calgary
Tuesday, March 12 | 7 p.m.
Lethbridge Senior Centre Organization (LSCO) | 500 11 Street South

Your brain takes in information through your eyes, ears and skin and then makes sense of it. How is this done? It turns out that your brain is organized to make maps of the sensory world. This lecture will describe how your brain creates maps for seeing, hearing, touching, as well as moving, and what happens when something goes wrong.

CCBN Open House and Brain Awareness Fair
Saturday, March 16 | 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience
University of Lethbridge | 4401 University Drive West

Everyone is welcome at this free event, which includes activities for children. CCBN researchers are happy to talk about their research, tour people through the research facility and answer any questions.

Keynote Lecture
Dementia and Your Brain Health
Jay Ingram, science broadcaster and writer and former co-host of Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet
Saturday, March 16 | 2 p.m.
Grand Ballroom | Sandman Signature Hotel Lethbridge Lodge | 320 Scenic Drive South

This event features guest speaker Jay Ingram, science broadcaster and writer who co-hosted Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet for 16 years. Join him to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and improving overall brain health.

Following the talk, a panel discussion will focus on supporting those impacted by the disease, highlighting research developments, caregiver supports and how we as a community can come together to ensure a brighter future for those impacted by Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Tickets for this talk are $5 each, and are available at go.uleth.ca/bawkeynote2019, the Lethbridge Senior Citizens Organization, Nord-Bridge Seniors Centre and the Alzheimer Society of Alberta and North West Territories. Proceeds from the event will be directed to the University of Lethbridge Alzheimer’s Disease Catalyst Fund.