Research rooted in Alberta’s diverse landscape
Microbiology instructor Dr. Sophie Kernéis and agriculture lab technician Leanne DuMontier, with support from a two-year CARIF grant from the Centre for Applied Research and Innovation at Lethbridge College, are collaborating on a project that is meeting the World Health Organization’s request to find new antibiotics to treat infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The Antibiotic Alberta Plant Project aims to discover antibiotic molecules from indigenous plants species. Our plant extracts library will be screened for their antibiotic activities and will allow identification of active antibiotic molecules in partnership with pharmaceutical companies or chemists.
"Nature is the best engineer." - Dr. Sophie Kernéis
Play is the priority
Lethbridge College is going back to basics for its outdoor play space. Located in the heart of the college’s campus, the current yard is being converted to a state-of-the-art outdoor play environment. After a ceremonial ground-breaking in April, work started this summer, with completion expected later this fall. The newly renovated area will support recent research around the development of children in the areas of outdoor, risky and loose parts play. The space is used by the Hands-On Early Learning Centre, which provides daycare services to children of college students and some staff members, and it will be tied to curriculum in the Early Childhood Education program. Twelve community partners from the construction industry are donating time, supplies and expertise to create the play area. They include Caliber Landscaping; the City of Lethbridge; D.A. Electric; Irritech Sprinkler Systems; KB Heating and Air Conditioning; Lafarge; McNally Contractors; Operation Underground Railroad; Scenic Drive Landscape Centre; Site One Landscape Supply; Southern Excavating; and Whissell Contracting.
A big first for Lethbridge College
Lethbridge College has received its first institutional grant funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), a relative rarity for colleges. Over the past three years, only 10 Colleges and Institutes Canada members have received SSHRC institutional grant funding. Lethbridge College’s SSHRC grant will provide $45,000 over three years to support small-scale research and related activities. Faculty will be invited to submit applications which will be evaluated through a peer review process. “They are keen for colleges to participate and we have the capacity to undertake social science research,” says Dr. Kenny Corscadden, Lethbridge College’s associate vice president of research. The SSHRC institutional grant will provide the college $45,000 over three years to support small-scale research and related activities. Corscadden says he expects these small grants – potentially five, $3,000 awards per year – will create more opportunities for students by providing for pilot projects or work that will be foundational to larger research efforts. Corscadden expects the application process will be open in September 2018.
Taking the show on the road
In the year ahead, Lethbridge College is looking to take its aquaponics expertise on the road and share it with Alberta children and their families who visit the new Granary Road Active Learning Park south of Calgary. The park, which provide 36 acres of activities, 3.5 kilometres of trails, a petting zoo and almost a dozen themed exhibits, could be an ideal setting for an aquaponics display, says Dr. Jagvir Singh, director of Applied Research and Innovation. “It would provide a visual treat to the visitors who would be able to get a glimpse of the unique ecosystem of aquaponics world, demonstrating the power of the microbial world in converting fish waste to nutrient solution.” The park opened in the summer of 2017 and the design of the learning pavilions, which are aimed at children from kindergarten to Grade 9, was overseen by Calgary teachers to ensure it aligns with Alberta educational curriculum. The park is located on 112th Street West and south of Highway 22X and also includes a farmer’s market, bakery, green house, food vendors and more.