Trainee Spotlight: Tineke Dineen, PhD Program, UBCO

Trainee Spotlight: Tineke Dineen, PhD Program, UBCO

This fall the BC Diabetes Research Network is pleased to shine a spotlight on Tineke Dineen from the Jung Lab in the Department of Health & Exercise Science at the UBC Okanagan campus.  Tineke’s doctoral research is funded by a SSHRC award and explores real world implementation of a diabetes prevention program within community organization. Not only is Tineke a recipient of a Michael Smith Health Research Foundation award, she is a new Mom! Congratulations Tineke! Thank you for sharing your research journey with the diabetes research community.


Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Toronto, Ontario.


What did you study for your undergraduate degree and where did you go to school before UBC?

I completed my undergraduate degree in Human Kinetics at the University of Guelph and completed my master’s degree in Health and Society at the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands.


What got you interested in diabetes research?

I have been interested in using diet and exercise modifications for the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes since taking undergraduate metabolism courses at the University of Guelph. I sought out a volunteer position working with the Kinesiologist and Health promoter at the Guelph Family Health Team because I wanted to see how they applied what I was learning in practice. At the time, they ran various programs in the community for individuals with or at risk for type 2 diabetes. I decided to pursue higher education in this topic area in the Netherlands!

I specifically became interested in research when I completed a research internship during my master’s degree. I completed the internship at the University of Calgary under the supervision of Dr. Ron Sigal where I coordinated a clinical trial examining resistance band exercises for individuals with type 2 diabetes. It was during my time coordinating clinical trials in Calgary that I fell in love with research. However, I also witnessed the lack of community-based solutions available to individuals wishing to make diet and exercise modifications, and the specific need for real-world studies in this area.


How far along are you in your degree and what do you hope to achieve in 2022 with your research?

 I am currently on a 1-year maternity leave, and when I return to the lab I will be officially in my 4th and final year! I have really enjoyed and cherished the dedicated time I received to care for my son, however, I am also really looking forward to getting back to my research projects. The biggest goal for this year is to finish my doctorate in summer 2023 so that I can start my postdoctoral work in September 2023!


Any advice/words of wisdom to share with other trainees about starting grad school or on how you found ways to connect with colleagues?

Be open to opportunities, prioritize your work-life balance, and get to know your colleagues! I joined the Graduate Health and Exercise Sciences Society in my first year and got to know so many fellow graduate students through the various social events we put on. We had a lot of fun! You can learn so much from other students from quick tips on how to use programs to make your work easier, gain new perspectives, problem solve on various research problems, or just to have a group to eat lunch with – away from your desk!


The past two years have been a pandemic and travel has been restricted. Now that travel is allowed, where do you want to go and why?

I am so excited to travel for conferences again! While I would be happy to go anywhere, I am keen to travel to Europe! One place I have always wanted to go is Norway. I really want to go hiking and see the fjords in the summer, or cross-country skiing in the winter.


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