Announcing the New Canadian Islet Research Training Network

August 25, 2020

The Canadian Islet Research and Training Network (CIRTN; R2FIC: Réseau de recherche et formation sur les îlots du Canada) was established in 2020 to help facilitate and support collaborative world-class research and training in Canada, focused on the pancreatic islet.

With seed funding from the Banting & Best Diabetes Centre, the Alberta Diabetes Institute, the Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal, the DREAM Consortium/Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba, and the British Columbia Diabetes Research Network, CIRTN now consists of over 30 labs and 80 trainees from over 15 institutions nationwide. 

CIRTN will foster new collaborations and expand those already in place as well as raise awareness about the importance of islet research. CIRTN labs are dedicated to research ranging from fundamental questions about how the islet works at the molecular and cellular level, to translational work developing novel treatments for patients with diabetes.

A central goal of CIRTN is to train the next generation of researchers. With this in mind, the organization is developing a national graduate course in islet biology, covering topics including islet cell function and physiology, stem cell biology, and drug development and targeting. CIRTN trainees will benefit from the expertise of over 20 expert lecturers, networking opportunities, protocol and database sharing, as well as lab exchanges.

The discovery of insulin in 1921 in Canada changed the landscape for diabetes treatment worldwide, and the establishment of CIRTN for the 100-year anniversary of this discovery will help ensure that Canada stays at the leading-edge of global diabetes research. With an estimated 13 million Canadians and over 400 million people worldwide living with diabetes or prediabetes, the need for research into the pancreatic islet has never been more vital.

The administrative hub for CIRTN is at the Alberta Diabetes Institute. For more information about the organization, from mission to membership enquiries, please visit