Second-Year Learning Communities: Cell & Systems Biology

By joining the Cell & Systems Biology (CSB) Second-Year Learning Community (SLC) you will be surrounded by a small community of second-year students who are learning to navigate their academic and co-curricular pathways to make the most of their experiences as a CSB student. The SLC program is designed to help you make the most out of your degree by engaging in various social, academic and professional development opportunities.

For more information about CSB, visit the Cell & Systems Biology website.

Apply to a Cell & Systems Biology SLC

SLC applications are currently closed for the 2023-24 academic year. Applications will reopen in Summer 2024. 


To be eligible for the CSB SLC you must be a second-year student enrolled in any of the following CSB undergraduate programs:

  • Animal Physiology Major
  • Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Specialist
  • Cell & Molecular Biology Major 
  • Cell & Molecular Biology Specialist 
  • Genome Biology Major

SLC Course Overview

Students in the Cell & Systems Biology SLC will meet at a welcome session during the first week of classes and then every other week starting September 18, 2023.

Time: Every other week on Mondays, from 2 pm to 3:30 pm

Location: TBA

Your SLC Team

Headshot of Jessica Pressey, Cell & Systems Biology Faculty Advisor

Department: Cell and Systems Biology

Title: Assistant Professor

Years worked for your current department and/or U of T: Three years

Undergraduate major/specialist and institution: Carleton University, Biology

Hometown: St. Thomas, ON

Why you decided to serve as a faculty advisor: The second year of any undergraduate program is a difficult one for students navigating the U of T system. I want to help create a sense of community where students are supported and integrate into their undergraduate community to help them through this year.

One piece of advice for a second-year student: Make sure to ask as many questions as you can!

Hobby or interest: My main hobby outside of work is road biking, which is something that I started doing during the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to do with my family when we can find time.

Department: Cell & Systems Biology

Title: Undergraduate Coordinator

Years worked for your current department and/or U of T: Three and a half years at CSB and 20 at U of T

Undergraduate major/specialist and institution: BEd in Adult Education, Brock University and MBA in Human Resources, University of Fredericton

Hometown: Toronto, ON

Why you decided to serve as a staff advisor: As the Undergraduate Coordinator at CSB, one of my responsibilities is to provide students with advising regarding the programs, courses and potential career pathways. I thoroughly enjoy this aspect of my job and I decided to be a SLC staff advisor to provide this support to students earlier on their programs.

One piece of advice for a second-year student: Take the time to network and explore different courses and programs in your undergraduate career. This is the time to learn more about areas that you've been curious about and also be exposed to areas that you might not have thought about before.

Hobby or interest: Biking

Photo of Edward Cheng in his kitchen eating a sandwich

Title: Peer Mentor

Program: Cell & System Biology: Focus in Biotechnology and Plant Genomics, Genome Biology Major 

Year: Fourth Year

College: New College

Hometown: Munford, Alabama, US

An interesting fact: I grow a DIYed hydroponic garden in my condo. 

Studies: Learning about the production of pharmaceutical peptides in plants(i.e. grow vaccines in your backyard?!)

Hobby or interest: Gardening, camping, biking, reading, work.

Jennifer Lam sitting at a table

Title: Peer Mentor

Program: Cell & Molecular Biology Specialist 

Year: Fourth Year

College: University College

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario

An interesting fact: I used to be terrified of dogs, but now I'm in love with them!

Studies: I enjoy meeting other bright and motivated students that are as captivated about cells as me – more specifically how amazing they are! I'm interested to hear about any research or life advice from our magnificent professors.

Hobby or interest: Reading, running, playing various sports, trying new foods, drinking bubble tea.