Research Grants Program 2020 – awarded $100,000
Deep profiling for early biomarkers of progression to islet autoimmunity and type 1 diabetes in mother-infant dyads participating in the ENDIA study.
Dr Megan Penno, The University of Adelaide, Women’s & Children’s Hospital & Walter & Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research
From growing up in country
Victoria, to a PhD exploring
protein in sheep, Dr Penno
has always held an interest
in what causes conditions
and finding the first
biological “red flags”, or
biomarkers, that something
is going wrong.
She came to SA in 2006, after graduating from the
University of Melbourne, and joined a newly opened
proteomics laboratory at the University of Adelaide.
There she worked with a team looking for
biomarkers of stomach cancer with the aim of
creating an early diagnostic test.
Dr Megan Penno has remained at University of
Adelaide and since 2012, has been the National
Project Manager for the Environmental Determinants
of Islet Autoimmunity (ENDIA) study (endia.org.au).
The project is focused on identifying ways to prevent
type 1 diabetes and has recruited 1500 women and
children across Australia.
Dr Penno and her team intend to look at the link
between environmental exposures early in life that
trigger the body’s immune system to attack and
destroy the insulin producing cells in the pancreas,
which leads to type 1 diabetes. Understanding what
causes type 1 diabetes and identifying biomarkers
of the earliest stages of the condition will open a
doorway to preventing type 1 diabetes in the future.
Dr Penno said, “Programs such as the Diabetes SA
Research Grants Program are extremely important
since national funding programs are becoming
increasingly competitive and SA is leading the way
with this ENDIA project”.
We wish Dr Penno and her team all the very best
and look forward to welcoming her at future