National Graduate Course in Islet Biology

We are excited to announce the launch of one our network initiatives: a for-credit online course for graduate students interested in islet biology is now being offered by the University of Toronto.

This course consists of two modules:

Islet Biology I: Gene to Cell to Organ to Disease

Islet Biology II: Beyond Glucose Control: Molecular Targets, Diagnostics and Cutting-edge Technologies

Lectures in each module cover a wide array of islet biology topics and will be delivered by over 20 CIRTN-R2FIC members.

For more information, please visit the links above or contact course coordinators Rob Screaton and Erin Mulvihill.

Highlighted Trainees

Shugo Sasaki

Postdoctoral Fellow, Francis Lynn Lab


Training: MD and PhD, Osaka University

Awards: JDRF Postdoctoral Fellowship

Project: The Lynn lab is providing an irreplaceable experience for my research interest, that is to carry on cell therapy in the field of diabetes. I revealed activation of GLP-1 and gastrin signaling induces exocrine-to-beta transdifferentiation during my doctorate. Now, I am testing hESC-derived beta-like cells that are genetically edited to produce a specific protein, which helps protecting beta-cell transplants from death and dysfunction by immune attack in type 1 diabetes model. Another project is defining factors/genes that regulate physiological beta-cell growth using knockout mouse model, which could lead to maintenance of functional beta-cell mass in type 2 diabetes.

Techniques: Genome-editing of hESCs, stem cell culture/differentiation, single-cell RNA-seq, FACS, histology.

About: I like playing soccer, skiing/snowboarding, and playing guitar. I used to love traveling and am playing more and more board games with the family nowadays.

Frank (Haopeng) Lin

PhD Candidate, Patrick MacDonald Lab


Training: BSc, Shantou University

Project: Pancreatic beta-cell dysfunction precedes type 2 diabetes. To understand how beta-cell function compensates and decompensates before progression to type 2 diabetes, I have been investigating how metabolic changes and redox state affect insulin secretion through a deSUMOylating enzyme SENP1 during high fat diet.

Techniques: Patch clamping, calcium imaging.

About: Outside of the lab, I am an enthusiastic sports-lover. Although I usually play badminton and basketball, I also enjoy sports that are new to me, such as skiing, rock-climbing, squash, and frisbee.

Yves Mugabo

Postdoctoral Fellow, Gareth Lim Lab


Training: BSc, Université d’Auvergne; MSc and PhD, Université de Montréal

Awards: Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship; CIHR Postdoctoral Fellowship; Next Einstein Forum Award (Best Young African Researcher World Class); FRQS Doctoral Fellowship; Diabète Québec Doctoral Fellowship Award.

Project: My research projects focus on the contributions of molecular scaffold proteins and in particular, members of the 14-3-3 protein family in glucose and lipid metabolism. Currently, I am studying how 14-3-3 proteins influence the function and survival of pancreatic β-cells. Using human and mouse islets, as well as mouse genetic models, I am testing whether 14-3-3ζ influences glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and β-cell proliferation.

Techniques: Islets isolation/culture, Seahorse Extracellular Flux assays, immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescent microscopy, radioimmunoassays, ELISA (insulin/glucagon), KO mice, IPGTT, ITT.

About: Outside the lab, I love to play volleyball, go to the gym, and do DIY home renovations. I also enjoy traveling and volunteering to serve my community.