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My name is Xavier Revelo and I am a postdoctoral fellow here at UHN. I do research in the lab of Dr. Dan Winer. It’s a diabetes lab.

I'm originally from Quito, Ecuador, and that's in South America.

Xavier Revelo
Xavier Revelo, a postdoctoral fellow at the University Health Network, researches diabetes in the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute. (Photo: UHN)

It's a l​ovely place. It's a small country in South America. I am from the capital, Quito. That's the biggest city. About three million people.​

In a way, it similar to Toronto because it's a big city: lots of people, lots of businesses on the street. It's really nice. The weather is great. We don't have seasons, we have only rainy and a non-rainy season.

I went to university in the States, and also grad school, and then I moved to Canada in 2012.

It's a funny story, because I moved the weekend of Canada Day. I remember driving into Toronto, downtown Toronto, and there was a huge parade. And I remember all these people out on the street. And what struck me was all kinds of people, the different types of people - ethnicities and backgrounds – and being in South America, being born in South America, and then spending about 10 years in the states, I was not used to that.

Here at UHN I focus on basic research. We're trying to discover mechanisms by which obesity can lead to complications. So what we do is try to understand what happens in the disease to find potential therapeutics and other kinds of interventions.

I feel like my career has improved since I came here. And obviously it has influenced my personal life. Especially, in the sense that I want to stay in Canada.

Xavier in Quito, Ecuador
Xavier visited his hometown of Quito, Ecuador in 2012. The city’s size and energy reminds him of Toronto. (Photo: Xavier Revelo)

What's being done here at UHN in terms of research is definitely pioneering. We're pushing the boundaries of knowledge. And I feel like it's only here at UHN where we have that opportunity based on the people that work here and based on the facilities we have access to. 

UHN is a great institution to be working at. It definitely opens the door for the Canadian experience. It represents what Canada is supposed to be like in terms of an open community, and respectful and diverse. 

Because of UHN, because of this great experience that I've had, I want to stay in Toronto.

It's home for me now. I've been lucky enough that I've established a social network. I also like the city itself. I like being out there and exploring and experiencing everything that happens in Toronto, especially in the summer.

I think for me, home is where your connections are and where your career is, which is very important for us scientists I feel like.

Understanding that you have a background and you have a family in a different location, but for me home is where you're establishing yourself in terms of personal connections, friendships and relationships and also career. ​

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