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

Cassandra Locatelli

MSc Candidate, Erin Mulvihill Lab


Training: BSc, University of Ottawa

Awards: UOHI Endowment Scholarship

Project: Investigating the potential mechanisms through which extremely low carbohydrate ketogenic diets improve glucose control. Using obese and hypercholesterolemic mice, I study the metabolic interplay between incretins, lipoproteins, and islet hormone secretion in the development of atherosclerosis in response to changes in diet.

Techniques: Islet isolation and perifusion, IHC, Nanostring, lipid extraction.

About: Outside of the lab, I spend most of my time with my dog; otherwise, you may find me doing yoga, teaching dance, cycling, or reading historical fiction novels.

Peter Yuanjie Zhou

PhD Candidate, Dan S Luciani Lab


Training: BSc, University of Science and Technology of China; MSc, Dalhousie University

Awards: BCCHR Graduate Studentship

Project: I am interested in understanding the mechanisms of β-cell adaptation that help maintain β-cell survival and function under stress. I focus on studying how lysosomes, as the cellular recycling center, protect β-cell viability and function under a variety of stresses through the process of autophagy. Specifically, I have found that autophagy is essential for pancreatic β-cells under hypoxia and transplantation-induced stress, and that β-cell failure under hypoxic stress is in part due to lysosomal dysfunction. Furthermore, I investigate the role of the transcription factor Tfeb, an emerging lysosomal master regulator, in β-cells under stress conditions.

Techniques: Confocal microscopy, live cell imaging, immunofluorescence/cytochemistry, ELISA, IPGTT, calcium imaging.

About: I am a fan of sports, especially playing soccer. In addition to sports, I like to spend time reading, including novels, poems, and history-related books.