Training & Online Graduate Course

CIRTN-R2FIC CREATE Training Program

The CIRTN-R2FIC CREATE program, in partnership with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and JDRF Canada, provides undergraduate, graduate, and
postdoctoral trainees with funding support and access to enhanced training, placement programs, and internships.

View the program information page for full program details and how to apply!

Annonce du programme CIRTN-R2FIC CREATE, en partenariat avec le Conseil des Recherches in Sciences Naturelles et du Génie du Canada et FRDJ Canada! Cela offre aux stagiaires de premier cycle, des cycles supérieurs et postdoctoraux un soutien financier et un accès à des programmes de formation et d’échange améliorés.

Consultez la page d’information sur le programme pour connaître tous les détails du programme et savoir comment postuler !

National Graduate Course in Islet Biology

We are excited to announce that our for-credit online course for graduate students interested in islet biology is once again being offered by the University of Toronto in 2023.

This course consists of two modules (both modules must be taken for credit):

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.

Deadline to request the course is: Monday October 3, 2022 (5:00 PM EST)

Course begins: January 11, 2023 1-3 PM EST

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

Highlighted Trainees

Rachel Spencer

PhD Candidate, Taubert Lab


Training: BSc Honours in Agricultural Biology at University of Saskatchewan. Started MSc in Medical Genetics in Taubert Lab 2020

Awards: CIHR CGS-M and UBC Four Year Doctoral Fellowship

Project: I use mouse knockout models to study the transcriptional coregulator Med15 and its role in matured beta cells, both in maintaining function and responding to stress. Previous work in our lab has shown that Med15 is required for pre-natal development and post-natal maturation. Now I want to understand if and why Med15 is required for beta cells to maintain functionality throughout adulthood. Additionally, the Med15 homolog in C. elegans is required for multiple stress responses, so I am curious if mammalian Med15 has similar stress response roles, and how this could be used to produce more resilient beta cells in vitro.

Techniques: KO models, glucose tolerance testing, RNA-seq, IF staining, qPCR

About: Outside of the lab I am an avid horseback rider; I compete, coach, and help run National level competitions, but my favourite position is working foxhounds for our (mock) fox hunting society. I also run a photography business!