New support for Australia’s best and brightest early career researchers

February 22, 2024

JDRF is delighted to announce that three Australian Early to Mid-Career Researchers (EMCRs) are being supported with over $2.2 million to continue their groundbreaking type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. 

JDRF is committed to nurturing the growth and impact of leading independent researchers who are instrumental in translating scientific discoveries to clinical applications. 

Dr Aveni Haynes from Telethon Kids Institute and The University of Western Australia was honoured with a JDRF Career Development Award (CDA) while Dr Matthew Lacorcia from St. Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research and Dr Ying Wong from The University of Adelaide were awarded JDRF Postdoctoral Fellowships.  

These exceptional researchers represent the next generation of leaders in T1D research, securing internationally competitive grants that highlight their critical roles to advancing field. Their work promises not only to broaden our understanding of T1D but also to sustain the T1D research community, thereby accelerating our collective efforts towards a world without T1D.  

Congratulations all! 

About these awards

JDRF’s Career Development Award is a highly prestigious, internationally competitive award that supports the recipient over a five-year period. It is aimed at up-and-coming research leaders in the field of T1D, allowing them to focus on research that aligns with JDRF’s strategic goals and priorities. This initiative provides awardees with the resources they need to establish themselves as world-leading T1D researchers.  

JDRF’s Postdoctoral fellowships are designed to attract promising scientists who are early in their professional career in the T1D research field. Typically, they have achieved a doctoral degree within the last five years and need to work with a mentor who can help with their career progression. This funding allows them to gain valuable expertise in the T1D field and ensure future success in their research careers.  

What projects will the researchers focus on?  

Dr Aveni Haynes (Telethon Kids Institute; The University of Western Australia) 

Dr Aveni Haynes is a mid-career researcher seeking to understand the early stages of T1D development. Within this area, we know that T1D begins well before classic symptoms appear and is often accompanied by mild changes to blood sugar levels. With this career development award, Dr Haynes will investigate blood sugar changes in children with high risk of developingT1D through using continuous glucose monitoring devices. This will allow Dr Haynes to investigate how and when blood sugar patterns change during these early stages of T1D. In future, this research will help the development of effective therapies to delay or stop the clinical onset of T1D and provide opportunities for children in the early stages of T1D development to access clinical trials or therapies.   

Read more about Dr Haynes exciting work and what drives her to continue doing T1D research. 


Dr Matthew Lacorcia (St. Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research) 

Dr Matthew Lacorcia will use his fellowship to develop a new, more accurate method to determine if someone is at high risk of developing T1D. This new technique will also allow us to understand how the immune response changes as T1D progresses and how it may be dampened with new therapies in the future. 

Learn more about Dr Lacorcia’s research and his key achievements in the world of T1D research  


Dr Ying Wong (The University of Adelaide’s Robinson Research Institute)

Dr Ying Wong is an up-and-coming early career researcher who wants to discover how to prevent T1D by understanding the genetic changes that lead to its development. To do this, Dr Wong will use samples from the JDRF-funded Environmental Determinants of Islet Autoimmunity (ENDIA) Study to investigate what is happening to the cells that normally protect against immune attack in children with T1D. By further understanding what is happening with these cells, we could then discover new therapies to ultimately stop T1D in its tracks.  

Find out more about Dr Wong’s research and her experience presenting her research in an international conference. 


About these grants  

Dr Haynes, Dr Lacorcia and Dr Wong’s awards are funded under JDRF International Grants # 5-CDA-2024-1490-S-B, 3-PDF-2024-1505-A-N and 3-PDF-2024-1501-A-N respectively.  

Our research portfolio

Groundbreaking projects like these are only possible with support from our community. The future of 130,000 Australians living with T1D and the eight more diagnosed each day depends on it. 

To get involved, donate here. 

Explore all research projects that JDRF Australia funds.