Molecular genetics of type 1 diabetes - HGEN 396 Undergraduate Research Project Application Form

Supervisor's Name: Constantin Polychronakos

Supervisor's Email: constantin.polychronakos [at]

Supervisor's Phone: 5144124400 ext. 22866

Supervisor's Website:

Supervisor's department: Human Genetics

Course number: HGEN 396 (Human Genetics)

Term: Winter 2017-2018

Project start date: Monday, January 8, 2018

Project end date: Monday, April 16, 2018

Project title: Molecular genetics of type 1 diabetes

Project description (50-100 words suggested): Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is due to autoimmune destruction of the insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells. The cause of the breakdown in immune self-tolerance is unknown but genetic predisposition plays an important role and behaves as a complex trait with multiple genetic loci contributing. Using new 1000 genome data imputation, we have identified novel T1D-risk variants that had been previously missed despite their strong effect because of low population frequency. We hypothesize that these variants modulate expression of important immune genes in the lymphocytes of T1D cases. The student will isolate lymphocytes from the blood of children with T1D, separate lymphocyte subsets by flow cytometry, extract RNA and measure its levels to compare patients who have vs. do not have the risk allele. The patients will be chosen from the hundreds in our clinic that have been genotyped so, despite the low allele frequency there will be sufficient numbers to complete the project in one term.

Prerequisite: 1 term completed at McGill + CGPA of 3.5 or higher; or permission of instructor.

Grading scheme (The final report must be worth at least 50% of final grade): Lab performance 40%; Written report 50%; Oral presentation 10%

Project status: This project is taken.

How students can apply / Next steps: For HGEN: After all of the parts of this application forms are completed and the hard copy is signed by the professor and the student, return the application form with a copy of your unofficial transcript to Mr Ross MacKay in the Department of Human Genetics (electronically or hardcopy; see for contact information).

Ethics, safety, and training: Supervisors are responsible for the ethics and safety compliance of undergraduate students. This project involves: Human subjects; Biohazardous substances.