Keynote National Speakers

Trevor Biden

Professor Trevor Biden heads the Diabetes Signalling Unit at the Garvan Institute. His research focus is the basic biology of the beta cell and how its dysregulation at transcriptional, metabolic and cell biological level underpins Type 2 diabetes.



Maria Craig

Maria Craig is a Professor in the School of Women’s and Children Health at the University of New South Wales, and a Paediatric Endocrinologist at St George and Westmead Hospitals. Her research interest is in childhood diabetes, including its epidemiology and the association of enteroviruses and type 1 diabetes. She is also actively involved in research into diabetic complications, vitamin D deficiency and growth disorders.


Shane Grey

Associate Professor Shane Grey is the Head of the Transplant Immunology Research Team at the Garvan Institute in Sydney, as well as a conjoint Associate Professor in the St Vincent’s Clinical School at the University of New South Wales. He is also a lead investigator on Australia's first clinical islet transplant program at Westmead, Program Director of a national NHMRC/JDRF research program for T1D and a founder of the Australian Islet Study Group.



Jenny Gunton

Professor Jenny Gunton is the Head of the Diabetes and Transcriptional Factors Group at the Garvan Institute in Sydney, and an Endocrinologist at Westmead Hospital. Her lab focuses upon the transcription factor expression of beta-cells using multiple transgenic and tissue-specific knock-out mice models. Additionally, her lab is interested in the role of transcription factors in obesity and liver disease.



Anand Hardikar

Associate Professor Anand Hardikar is the head of the Diabetes and Islet Biology Group within the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre at the University of Sydney. His laboratory is focused upon islet biology, including the development of pancreatic progenitor cells and the role of non-coding RNAs in islet development and differentiation. He is also interested in understanding the influence of diet, micronutrients, intrauterine programming and gut microbiota in development of central adiposity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.


Wayne Hawthorne

Wayne Hawthorne is an Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Sydney. He is also the Director of the National Pancreas and Islet Transplant Laboratories at Westmead Hospital. He is focused on the development of pancreatic islet transplantation as a mainstream therapy for patients with difficult to control Type 1 diabetes. His laboratory research is focused on the surgical models used for assessment of immunobiology of islet xenograft rejection and developing islet xenografts as a clinical therapy.


Tom Kay

Professor Tom Kay is the Director of the Immunology and Diabetes Research Unit at the St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne. His research group works on the immunopathogenesis of type 1 diabetes by using beta cells and T cells purified from genetically-modified mice to investigate the role of perforin, death receptors and inflammatory cytokines in beta cell death and diabetes. He also leads a Melbourne-wide clinical islet transplant program.


Ross Laybutt

Associate Professor Ross Laybutt is the Head of the Islet Biology Group at the Garvan Institute in Sydney, and an Associate Professor at St Vincent's Clinical School, University of New South Wales. His research has identified roles of Id proteins and endoplasmic reticulum stress in pancreatic beta cell dysfunction and death in type 1 and type 2 diabetes. He was Convenor of the inaugural Australian Islet Study Group meeting in 2008.



Christopher Nolan

Professor Christopher Nolan is the Head of the Diabetes Research Laboratory at the Australian National University. His group is currently conducting research into the adaptation, or lack thereof, of insulin producing cells to chronic nutrient overload. They are also particularly interested in identifying risk factors for type 1 diabetes and the influence of maternal health during pregnancy.



Ed Stanley

Professor Ed Stanley is the Group Leader of the Stem Cell Technology group at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Melbourne. His group uses human pluripotent stem cells to understand human development and to create models to study human disease, with a special interest in diseases of the blood, endocrine and immune systems.



Helen Thomas

Associate Professor Helen Thomas is the head of the Islet Biology Laboratory at the St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne. Her research is focused on preventing pancreatic beta-cell destruction to preserve beta-cell mass in diabetes. Her lab has identified pathways of beta cell death in type 1 and 2 diabetes, including the interaction between the immune system and beta-cells. Her work directly translates to humans through the islet transplantation program.


Peter Thorn

Professor Peter Thorn is a laboratory head in the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Queensland, where he studies the in situ control of insulin secretion from intact islets. His lab have developed microscopy methods that can resolve individual insulin granule fusion in single beta cells within islets. They have had recent papers published in Diabetologia that demonstrate that insulin secretion is targeted towards the islet vasculature and suggest that beta cells establish specialised regions for the control of insulin granule exocytosis.


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Peter Thorn