The JDRF CRN Symposium 2023 Speakers

Monday 24th and Tuesday 25th July 2023

Swissôtel Sydney, 68 Market Street, SYDNEY, NSW 2000

Invited International Speakers


Professor Marian Rewers, MD PhD

Marian Rewers JDRF 2023 Symposium

Professor Marian Rewers is the Executive Director at the Barbara Davis Centre for Childhood Diabetes at the University of Colorado and led the Department of Paediatrics and Medicine for 12 years until 2012. His primary research has been in the aetiology and epidemiology of T1D as well as insulin resistance and cardiovascular complications of diabetes. He is the principal investigator of large NIH-funded prospective cohort studies: the Diabetes Autoimmunity Study in the Young (NIDDK/NIAID), The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY), the Coronary Artery Calcification in Type 1 (CACTI) Study (NHLBI), and the Genetic and Environmental Causes of Celiac Disease (NIDDK).


Professor Mark Atkinson, PHD

Mark Atkinson JDRF 2023 Symposium

Professor Mark Atkinson is the American Diabetes Association Eminent Scholar for Diabetes Research and the Jeffrey Keene Family Professor at the University of Florida. His research interests are in disease prediction and prevention, the role for environment in the initiation of the disease, stem cells and pancreatic regeneration, the use of animal models in studies of T1D pathogenesis and therapy, and the identification of markers of tolerance and immunoregulation. He has also engaged in leadership service with active administrative or advisory service to JDRF, The American Diabetes Association (ADA), The National Institutes of Health, The Immunology of Diabetes Society. He is currently the Executive Director of the JDRF Network for Pancreatic Organ donors with Diabetes (nPOD) program, and he recently completed his term as Steering Committee Chair of the NIH Human Islet Research Network (HIRN).


Professor Colin Dayan, MA MBBS FRCP PHD

Colin Dayan JDRF 2023 Symposium

Professor Colin Dayan is a Professor of Clinical Diabetes and Metabolism at Cardiff University School of Medicine. He has a long-established interest in translational research in the immunopathology of T1D and is the lead for diabetes in the Cardiff whole pancreas transplantation program. Prof Dayan currently leads the Clinical Engagement and Training Core of the Diabetes UK funded T1D UK immunotherapy Consortium which aims to coordinate and support combined efforts to bring immunotherapy for T1D into clinical practice and is Chair of the T1D national Prevention and Therapies Clinical Studies Group.

National Keynote speakers


Professor Jenny Couper MB, ChB, MD, FRACP

Jenny Couper JDRF 2023 Symposium

Professor Jenny Couper is a practising paediatric endocrinologist. She led the Diabetes and Endocrinology department at WCH, South Australia until 2021 and currently leads the Discipline of Paediatrics, University of Adelaide. Her clinical research has focused on two areas in T1D: the prevention of T1D, and the prevention of cardiovascular complications in children with T1D. She is lead Investigator of the Environmental Determinants of Islet Autoimmunity (ENDIA); an internationally unique study of 1500 children at-risk of T1D who have been followed from pregnancy. She was a co – investigator on INIT I, INIT II, AdDIT, and BANDIT trials and has co-authored International Society of Paediatric and Adolescent Diabetes (ISPAD) and other international guidelines. Jenny is an elected member of the ISPAD Advisory Council.


Professor Elizabeth Davis MBBS, FRACP, PhD

Liz Davis JDRF 2023 Symposium

Professor Elizabeth Davis has had a career of integrating clinical care and diabetes research with the goal of improving outcomes for youth with diabetes. She is Head of the Department of Endocrinology at Perth Children’s Hospital (PCH) and co-directs the Children’s Diabetes Centre, a JDRF global centre of excellence, at the Telethon Kids Institute. Professor Davis is a past President of the Australasian Paediatric Endocrine Group. She currently leads the Australasian hub of SWEET, an international paediatric diabetes initiative with the goal of improving outcomes for children with diabetes globally.



Tom Kay JDRF 2023 Symposium

Professor Tom Kay is the Director of St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research (SVI) in Melbourne, and head of the Tom Mandel Islet Transplant Program and Chief Investigator of the BANDIT clinical trial and the JDRF Australasian T1D Immunotherapy Clinical Trials Network. He is an Honorary Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne and is a clinician-scientist with expertise in endocrinology and clinical immunology. His work focuses on islet transplantation and immunotherapy with the aim to challenge insulin replacement therapy for diabetes by introducing new treatments based on disease mechanisms.

Keynote Speakers


Professor Mark Cooper AO, MBBS, PhD, FRACP, FAHMS

Mark Couper JDRF 2023 Symposium

Professor Mark Cooper is Head of the Diabetes Department in the Central Clinical School at Monash University. He was formerly Chief Scientific Officer, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, as well as the Director of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Centre (JDRF) for Diabetes Complications and maintains an active clinical practice at The Alfred as a senior endocrinologist. Professor Cooper’s research interests are in diabetes and its three major complications: kidney disease, heart disease and blindness. His distinguished body of research has led to new treatments for sufferers of diabetes that are today considered standard. He has played a key role in translating exciting discoveries in the laboratory to clinical care with seminal studies defining various treatment strategies to reduce the burden of diabetic complications.


Professor Louise Maple-Brown MBBS, PhD, FRACP

Louise Maple Brown JDRF 2023 Symposium

Professor Louise Maple-Brown is a Senior Endocrinologist at the Royal Darwin Hospital (NT, Australia), Deputy Director Research and Senior Principal Research Fellow at Menzies. Louise has been providing clinical diabetes services to urban and remote NT communities for over 20 years. She is a current member of the NT Clinical Senate. Louise established and leads the Diabetes across the Lifecourse: Northern Australian Partnership. The partnership includes several large NHMRC-funded projects, including The PANDORA (Pregnancy And Neonatal Diabetes Outcomes in Remote Australia) Cohort Study. In 2020 Louise was awarded the Australian Diabetes Society Ranji and Amara Wikramanayake clinical Diabetes Mid-Career Research award and in 2021. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences.


Professor Natasha Rogers MBBS (Hons), PhD, FRACP, FASN.

Natasha Rogers JDRF 2023 Symposium

Natasha Rogers is a Senior Staff Specialist at Westmead Hospital where she is Head of Transplantation and Director of the Clinical Islet Transplant Program. She is Professor of Nephrology and Transplantation Medicine at the University of Sydney, where she is a NHMRC Emerging Leader Fellow, and is Deputy Director of the Centre for Transplant and Renal Research at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research. She runs the Kidney Injury Group, which focuses on molecular mechanisms of acute and chronic kidney injury, as well as translation of findings into clinical practice. Her team performed the first machine perfusion-treated kidney transplant in Australia in 2021, and she currently leads a multi-centre islet transplant trial that uses novel immunosuppression therapy. Her research has attracted >$5 million in fellowships and grants from the American Heart Association, NHMRC, MRFF, National Heart Foundation and Diabetes Australia. She is currently Chair of the Scientific Program Committee for the ANZ Society of Nephrology and the international Transplantation Society Scientific Committee.

Rapid Fire Presentations


Dr Ki Wook Kim BSc (Hons), PhD

Ki Wook Kim JDRF 2023 Symposium

Doctor Ki Wook Kim is a JDRF Career Development Fellow based at UNSW. Dr Kim completed his undergraduate degree, Honours and PhD in Molecular Biology and Genetics at USYD. Since 2015, Dr Kim has focused his research on the viral aetiology of T1D and human viromics (characterising all viruses infecting humans). He leads the Human Viromics research group within the UNSW-affiliated Virology Research Laboratory (Prince of Wales Hospital) and co-leads the Virology theme within the nationwide ENDIA study.


Doctor Kirstine Bell APD, CDE, PhD

Kirstine Bell JDRF 2023 Symposium

Doctor Kirstine Bell is a Senior Research Fellow at the Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney and is the Principal Research Fellow leading the Australian T1D National Screening Pilot (JDRF-Australia & JDRF-International, 2020-24), a national feasibility, acceptability and cost-effectiveness program to determine the optimal method for a routine, publicly funded national screening program for all Australian children.  She is co-first author on the 2022 ISPAD Clinical Practice Consensus Guideline: Stages of T1D in children and adolescents.

Panel Member


Professor Leonard Harrison MBBS NSW MD DSc Melbourne FRACP FRCPA FAHMS

Professor Len C. Harrison is Head of the Population Health and Immunity Division at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI). His leadership has played a vital role in securing international recognition of Australia as a major global hub for T1D research.  In a career spanning over 30 years, through a seamless combination of research with clinical medicine working to prevent and cure T1D, Professor Len Harrison has made outstanding contributions to understanding its causes and to the development of a vaccine. He continues to lead and undertake research and mentor scientists and clinicians, in particular as head of international consortia working on diabetes vaccine trials and the developmental origins of immune disease. Len is a Life Fellow of the RACP and Fellow of the Academy of Health and Medical Sciences.


Professor Toby Coates AO MBBS PhD FRACP

Professor Toby Coates AO is a full time clinician-scientist in the Central Northern Adelaide Renal and Transplantation Service at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and Renal Transplant Nephrologist, Clinical Professor in Medicine at the University of Adelaide. He is the Director of Kidney and Pancreas Islet Transplantation at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. Toby’s research interests are in basic immunology, translational clinical kidney/pancreas islet transplantation and experimental immunosuppression. His group started the Islet Transplant program in Adelaide for T1D in 2006 as members of the Australian Islet Consortium, performed Australia’s first paediatric islet auto-transplant in 2015, established Australia’s first steroid-free pancreas transplant program in 2018 and pioneered development for alternative sites for islet cell transplantation through his startup company Beta Cell Technologies. In 2022 his group was awarded the Ministers Health and Innovation in the 2022 SA Health Awards.


Melanie Cullen

Melanie leads the Insulin Pump Program and Mental Health Programs at JDRF Australia. Her 18-year-old son Will has type 1 diabetes. As a psychologist working in youth health when her son was diagnosed at 2 years old, Melanie made the transition about 12 months later to specialise as a paediatric psychologist started working at a diabetes service. In this role for over 10 years along with maintaining her own private practice, Melanie came to work at JDRF Australia in 2018. Combining both her personal and professional knowledge, Melanie is able to share many insights and helpful tips for parents of children and teens living with T1D.



Megan Penno BSc (Hons), PhD

Megan Penno JDRF 2023 Symposium

Doctor Megan Penno is the National Project Manager for the Environmental Determinants of Islet Autoimmunity (ENDIA) study and is a Grant-Funded Researcher at the University of Adelaide. Dr Penno was appointed to manage ENDIA at the project’s inception in 2012 and has played an integral role in establishing and expanding the cohort, which completed the recruitment of 1500 mother-infant dyads in late 2019. Drawing on her skills in basic science and ‘omics research, Dr Penno was the first author of the published ENDIA protocol and developed the sample and data collection strategies that underpin all investigations involving ENDIA participants.


Professor Josephine Forbes

Josephine Forbes Symposium Moderator

Prof Josephine Forbes is a translational researcher performing bench to bedside studies on novel therapies to prevent type 1 diabetes and a major complication, kidney disease. Currently she based at Mater Research – The University of Queensland in Australia. Josephine is the Australian Diabetes Society President-Elect, the previous chair of the Diabetes Australia Research Program and an editor board member for journals including Kidney International. She is also continually in the top 2% of scientists globally as published annually by Stanford University, with an H index of 61. Josephine has published ~200 research articles with >15000 citations and three patents. She has received numerous prizes for her research including the Commonwealth Health Minister’s Award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research in Australia.