Trainee Highlights

This month’s CIRTN-R2FIC trainees are highlighted below.

Nathalie Jouvet

Research Associate, Jennifer Estall Lab


Training: Postdoc (2017) McGill University; Postdoc (2013) UMass Medical School; PhD (2012) and BSc (2005) University of Montreal

Awards: MDRC Postdoctoral Fellowship (2015)

Project: My current work in the Estall lab is to characterize/design an inducible beta cell mouse model that we hope to share soon with the diabetes research field. I am also working on the role of the G482S polymorphism of the transcriptional coactivator PGC1-alpha in beta cells. Finally, I focus on the function of the adapter protein Nck in beta cell health and survival. Our ultimate goal is to find molecular targets and translate our findings in treatments for diabetic patients.

Techniques: Transgenic mice and metabolic tests, mouse islet isolation and culture, human islet in vitro experiments, iPSCs, cell culture, viral (adenovirus/lentivirus) transduction, immunofluorescence, western blot, qPCR, cloning.

About: As a type-1 diabetic individual, I always wanted to become a scientist and make a difference for the future generations. My current position in the Estall lab gives me the opportunity to perform innovative research on a topic that is close to my heart with an amazing team. Besides my dedicated work in the lab, I enjoy spending moments with my sons and dog, knitting and trying new recipes.

Li Xie

Postdoctoral Fellow, Herbert Gaisano Lab


Training: Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China

Awards: CDA Postdoctoral Fellowship

Project: I lead project-based initiatives in the Gaisano lab. Some of my work includes: managing project methodologies and experiment processes; running patch clamp to monitor the ion channel functions and membrane capacitance changes of human, rat, and mouse pancreatic islet beta cells and cell lines; utilizing the TIRFM, 2-Photon, SR-SIM, TEM, and confocal imaging to observe and study granule fusion dynamics and protein-protein relationships; performing data analysis of conducted experiments and recording all findings; and producing publications of research detailing objectives and outcomes.

Techniques: Patch clamping, Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence Microscopy (TIRFM), Super-resolution Structured Illumination Microscopy(SR-SIM), 2-Photon, TEM, and confocal imaging.

Kevin Guo

PhD candidate, Mathieu Ferron Lab


Training: MSc. McGill University (2018); BSc. McGill University (2016)

Awards: Angelo-Pizzagalli Scholarship (2019); Guépards et Gazelles Gourmands Scholarship (2020)

Project: Vitamin K (VK) is essential for the conversion of glutamic acid (Glu) into gamma-carboxyglutamic acid (Gla) residues. Recent findings suggest a role of vitamin K in preventing diabetes, but the mechanism involved is unknown. We have observed that mice lacking Ggcx in the pancreas have reduced insulin secretion and decreased β-cell mass. Gla proteins were immunoprecipitated (IP) and characterized using a proteomic approach, leading to the identification of two novel carboxylated proteins encoded by the same gene: aspartyl/asparaginyl β-hydroxylase (ASPH) and junctate. Our current work is aimed at determining if gamma-carboxylation directly regulates the function of ASPH and junctate.

About: When I was little, I wanted to be a chef, filmmaker or scientist. So far, I’ve cooked up various biochemical protocols and have created many beautiful films for Western blot. With enough hard work and support, I hope to one day become a scientist too.