High School Student Studies the Brain and Exercise for the Summer
Grade 11 student teaches his teachers for the day
Aug. 18, 2015
This summer, grade 11 student, Andrew Panteluk is looking at ways to improve the thinking, memory, and cognitive function of the aging brain in senior citizens. Andrew is a participant in the 2015 Heritage Youth Researcher Summer (HYRS) program at the University of Calgary. He is one of 22 Grade 11 students chosen to participate in the six‐week HYRS program, providing hands‐on health research experiences in laboratories and clinics at the University of Calgary.
Andrew is working in the laboratory of Marc Poulin, PhD, DPhil, a Professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute within the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary. Day to day, Andrew is supervised by Lauren Drogos, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow working with Dr. Poulin. The lab investigates the relationship between exercise, blood flow in the brain, and thinking and memory. As the program wraps up, Andrew has invited two of his high school teachers – James Ward and Sherry Schulzke to show them the scope of his research during their visit.
“This summer has been an incredible experience,” says Andrew who is going into Grade 12 at Ecole Secondaire Notre Dame High School in Red Deer this September. “The work I’m doing within Dr. Poulin’s lab will show the specific impact of exercise, and how well it works in boosting brain blood flow and cognition. I’m excited to show my high school teachers the complexity of the work I’ve been performing.” Andrew’s project is part of a larger research program called the Brain-In-Motion Study.
“I’d like to pursue surgery in the future,” says Andrew. “The HYRS program has exposed me to all the best parts of applied and biomedical research. My mentors are at the top of their discipline. While working with them, I’ve seen how biomedical research will help solve serious problems for our aging population.”
“The HYRS program is an opportunity for young Albertans and their teachers to see the world of possibilities in health research,” says Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions interim CEO, Pamela Valentine, PhD. “We are delighted to see the curiosity and passion in young people like Andrew, who we hope will be part of the next generation of health research leaders in our province.”
For information about Marc Poulin’s research, visit: http://wcm.ucalgary.ca/poulin/
Province‐wide, there are 50 students working this summer at the University of Alberta, University of Calgary, and University of Lethbridge.
This year, the HYRS program received 241 applications from Grade 11 students in 87 schools across Alberta. An adjudication committee of high school teachers Edmonton and Calgary, and two scientists from the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary selected 50 students. Twelve of the HYRS students are from towns and rural communities across Alberta. The Alberta Cancer Legacy Fund also provided support for students working in cancer-related labs at the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, and the University of Lethbridge.
HYRS participants receive a stipend through Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions (AIHS) to work on research projects supervised and mentored by university researchers. HYRS programing includes hands-on research time in the lab, plus guest lectures, professional development sessions, and tours of research facilities. Participants produce a scientific poster which they share with their referring teachers, mentors, lab colleagues, and family at the HYRS Final Celebration and Poster Presentation held on the last day of the program on each campus.
Students who apply to HYRS are required to have at least an 85% average in biology 20 and mathematics 20, as well as 85% in an additional science. They also need two teacher references, a community reference, and to write an essay about an aspect of health research that interests them and why they want to be part of the HYRS program.
For more information about HYRS: Danica Wolkow, HYRS Provincial Coordinator,
1.877.423.5727 x237, email@example.com
Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions supports research and innovation activities to improve the health and wellbeing of Albertans and create health related social and economic benefits for Albertans. AIHS provides leadership for Alberta’s health research and innovation enterprise by directing, coordinating, reviewing, funding and supporting research and innovation.