UBC child-development expert Clyde Hertzman dies

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      One of B.C.'s foremost experts on early childhood learning has died in London, England.

      Clyde Hertzman, director of the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) and a Canada Research Chair in population health and human development in UBC's School of Population and Public Health, was 59 years old. 

      "British Columbia has lost one of its brightest lights in Dr. Clyde Hertzman," Premier Christy Clark said in a statement released today. "His trailblazing work on early childhood and human development attracted global attention. The research he led will continue to change lives for the better."

      He was a senior fellow of the Experience-based Brain and Biological Development Programme and the Successful Societies Programs of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. In 2010, he was named "Canada's Health Researcher of the Year" by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

      His research focused on how genetics combined with early childhood development can have monumental effects on a person's future, in part because of the way the young brain develops in response to environmental factors. He and his colleagues gathered data on kindergarten-age children, noting that the largest number of vulnerable kids actually come from middle-income families.

      Clyde Hertzman discusses how genetics and environment interact in early childhood development.