Heather's Story

I am a Vancouverite through and through, and it so happens that Vancouver boasts a vibrant and productive diabetes research community. I was born at BC Women’s Hospital, at the time called Grace Hospital, next door to where I now do my research. I did my Bachelor of Science at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and the University of British Columbia in Biochemistry, followed by a PhD in Cell Biology. My PhD investigated how a hormone called Leptin, produced by fat cells, helps regulate blood sugar levels. Since then, I have been working as a postdoctoral fellow, with a focus on the interaction between the immune system and insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, and how this interaction contributes to diabetes.

Outside of the lab: I love running, travelling, reading, and most of all spending time with family and friends. I do a bit of snow boarding, and I’m pretty enthusiastic about food and wine. With (or even without) a glass of wine in hand, I am happy to talk at length about my cats, all things science, and – true to my Vancouver roots – the weather and housing market.

My favourite cell type? I am glad you asked! Aside from the insulin-producing, all around amazing beta cell, my favourite cell type would have to be the macrophage. These cells basically crawl throughout the body and eat stuff – sick and dying cells, bacteria, junk – you name it, your macrophages probably eat it.