Type 1 Summit Speakers & moderators

Get to know our speakers and moderators at the Type 1 Summit.

Type 1 Summit

Get to know the speakers appearing at Type 1 Summit.


Prof Alicia Jenkins

Prof Alicia Jenkins is an endocrinologist with over three decades of experience in the clinical care of youth and adults with T1D and in diabetes research. She is based at Melbourne’s Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute and St. Vincent’s Hospital. Her team’s research includes clinical trials to reduce long-term diabetes complications and to improve diabetes technologies such as insulin pumps.

Prof Jenkins is also the president of the diabetes charity Insulin For Life, and is the Chair Elect of the International Diabetes Federation Western Pacific Region.

→ See Prof Jenkins’s session in our event program.  


Amanda Wong

Amanda is continually inspired and humbled by the resilience and tenacity of the diabetes community. Passionate about amplifying the experiences of people living with diabetes, she is dedicated to bringing the community’s voice into the very heart of the FreeStyle Libre brand.

During her session, Amanda will provide an overview of FreeStyle Libre’s ground-breaking continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) technology, and will have the privilege of sharing inspiring stories from Australian FreeStyle Libre users.

→ See Amanda’s session in our event program.  


André Cato

André has lived with type 1 diabetes for over 30 years and has always been passionate about technology and how can it can be used to create a better life for everyone with diabetes.

André’s interest in technology and love of music lead him to a career in the musical instrument industry, where he worked in product development and marketing for 25 years, then in the medical industry during the covid years.

André has also taken part in several world first medical trials to test new technologies for AID systems and loves discovering ways to interpret the data provided to make better decisions to control his own health.

→ See André’s session in our event program


Annalise Baulch

Annalise Baulch (she/her) is a qualified music therapist  working in Geelong. She is registered with the Australian Music Therapy Association and completed her Masters of Music Therapy Degree at University of Melbourne in 2022. Annalise has experience working with people within a wide range of clinical areas, including special education, general hospitals, adolescent mental health, disability across the lifespan, and rehabilitation.

She has been working with Sharing Tulli’s Smile Fund since May 2022 as their music therapist, providing support to children and youth in paediatric departments at University Hospital, Geelong.

→ See Annalise’s session in our event program.  


Dr Carmel Smart

Dr Carmel Smart is a clinical dietitian and researcher who is recognised as a leading authority in paediatric type 1 diabetes. Dr Smart has worked for over 25 years as the senior diabetes dietitian at the John Hunter Children’s Hospital, Newcastle, where her role involves working daily with children, young people and families living with diabetes.

Dr Smart is also a clinician researcher at the Hunter Medical Research Institute, where she leads a team focusing on the impact of dietary behaviours and physical activity on health and glycaemia across all ages and stages. She has developed international partnerships aimed at increasing the evidence to guide the care of children living with diabetes.

Dr Smart is an editor of the 2024 ISPAD Clinical Practice Guidelines and publishes regularly in leading diabetes journals. She previously worked with the JDRF International Type 1 Exercise Expert Advisory Group. Carmel is the recipient of awards including the NSW Advancement of Children’s Health and the Allied Health Excellence in Research Award.

→ See Dr Smart’s session in our event program.  


Dr Dorota Pawlak PhD

Dr Dorota Pawlak PhD is JDRF’s Chief Scientific Officer. She focuses on developing strategic approaches towards finding cures, treatments and preventing type 1 diabetes.

Dr Pawlak is a member of JDRF’s Executive Team, previously managed the federally funded Islet Transplantation Program, and for the last 10 years developed and managed the Type 1 Diabetes Clinical Research Network. She is also responsible for international partnerships with world-leading government, non-government, foundation and commercial organisations. 

→ See Dr Pawlak’s session in our event program.  


Elissa Jacobs

Elissa is currently Acting Director of Allied Health, Division of Women, Youth and Children, Canberra Health Services. Since obtaining her Masters in Clinical Psychology from the Australian National University in 2000, she has spent the last 23 years primarily working with children who have chronic illnesses and their families. She continues in this role, providing services to children and adolescents at the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children. As such, she is keen to share her expertise in this area, not only building the capacity and confidence of new clinicians that come through the teaching hospital, but also in the parents and families who support their children in coping with these illnesses.

→ See Elissa’s session in our event program.  


Eliza Bartlett

Eliza was diagnosed with T1D at age nine. Determined to not let it define her, she has used her diagnosis as a motivator to strive for her goals. 

Eliza has played high level sports, studied a Bachelor of Nursing with graduate degrees in mental health and diabetes, and is currently working as a paediatric diabetes nurse educator. 

Passionate about T1D research, Eliza has set out on some amazing adventures to raise money for JDRF. She first undertook a solo walk from Adelaide to Melbourne at the age of 21, and then at 27 she embarked on a 4300km solo walk around Europe. Together these walks raised over $100,000 for JDRF and greater awareness of the cause.

Eliza was also gifted the first ever Australian Lions specialist Medical Alert Diabetes Dog.

→ See Eliza’s session in our event program.  


Fiona Scott

Fiona Scott has been working as a diabetes educator (DE) for the last 15 yrs.

In 2010 she helped establish the Paediatric Diabetes Service at Barwon Health, and she also works in private practise. She is proud to run the annual Dream Achieve Succeed event, and participates as a DE with Diabetes Camps Victoria to help inspire people with diabetes and their families to see that diabetes is no obstacle.

Fiona is passionate about helping people with diabetes believe in themselves and not see diabetes as a barrier towards achieving their dreams.

In 2017 Fiona was the proud recipient of the Victorian Diabetes Educator of the year award, and she is also privileged to be a member of Beta Change, who share her passion to make a global impact.

→ Fiona is the Kids and Teens leader at Type 1 Summit. See the sessions in our event program.  


Georgie Peters

Georgie Peters is a diabetes advocate from Melbourne. Her aim in advocacy is to support people living with diabetes to combat elements of diet culture within their everyday lives and cultivate a healthy relationship with food and their body. Her work with BodyPosiBetes aims to dismantle the preconceptions and prejudice within the diabetes space one post and discussion at a time, including the dialogue around body size, mental health, and diabetes complications.

Georgie also talks at assorted diabetes conferences and events, shedding light on the patient experience and advocating for intersectional and diverse representation within the diabetes community.

Her writing and interviews have been published in both Australia and overseas, and she continues to push for healthcare that is non-judgmental, weight neutral, and takes all aspects of wellbeing into account.

→ See Georgie’s session in our event program.  


Jack Kofoed

Jack Kofoed was diagnosed with T1D when he was in training to become a pilot in 2020 – and since then he has achieved his goal and now flies planes for a living. He’s also trained as a V8 race car driver. As Jack says, he’ll “fly, drive or ride anything for food!”.

Follow Jack on Instagram.

→ See Jack’s session in our event program.  


Jenna Cantamessa

Jenna Cantamessa is a marketing advisor from Townsville, Far North Queensland. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 19, she has lived with the condition for 12 years. Currently, she’s the International Diabetes Federation Young Leader in Diabetes for Australia and enjoys volunteering at diabetes camps and events. She loves being part of the online diabetes community through her Instagram page, @typeonevibes, and has a passion for creating diabetes art.

In her spare time, you’ll find Jenna traveling, exploring the great outdoors, crafting, and scoping out quirky coffee nooks!

Jenna will be a moderator at the Type 1 Summit. 


Joe Solowiejczyk, RN MSW CDCES

Joe is a diabetes nurse and family therapist who specializes in helping children and families, especially adolescents, cope effectively with the challenges of living with type 1 diabetes.

Joe is the author of the iBook A Type 1 Diabetes Guide to the Universe and an internationally renowned speaker on the subject of family dynamics and impact on diabetes management.

Joe has had type 1 diabetes for 62 years.

→ See Joe’s session in our event program.  


Justin Morris

After receiving his T1D diagnosis at 10, Justin’s dreams and goals in life were threatened. Turning to cycling helped him cope with T1D and began his successful pro cycling career. As one of the first ever people with T1D to compete in Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) professional races, Justin spent five years travelling the world racing his bike. He’s also an ambassador for Team Novo Nordisk Pro Cycling.

Justin has since transitioned from his pro cycling career to complete two university degrees in psychology and education. He also founded Mind Matters Athlete Coaching.

Follow Justin on Instagram.

→ See Justin’s session in our event program.


Louise Keys

Louise has forged her non-profit career at JDRF since 2006 where she has led fundraising, marketing and technology teams, driving campaigns and programs to raise over $30M for type 1 diabetes. Louise has a personal dedication to T1D as her brother was diagnosed with the condition in 1992.

Louise also works with other non-profit organisations to support them to develop and grow their impact towards their mission.

Louise will be a moderator at the Type 1 Summit. 


Dr Mark Heyman

Dr Mark Heyman is a diabetes psychologist and a certified diabetes care and education specialist who is passionate about providing diabetes education and evidence-based mental health treatment and online programs to people with diabetes. Dr Heyman received his PhD in clinical psychology from The George Washington University and completed his psychology internship at the UCSD School of Medicine, and is now the CEO of the Center for Diabetes & Mental Health (CDMH) in San Diego.

Dr Heyman is the host of the Live Free with T1D podcast (formerly known as The Diabetes Psychologist Podcast) and the author of Diabetes Sucks and You Can Handle It: Your Guide to Managing the Emotional Challenges of T1D.

Dr Heyman has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1999.

→ See Dr Heyman’s session in our event program.  


Dr Megan Penno

Dr Megan Penno is the Chief Operating Officer for the ENDIA study and Grant Funded Research at the University of Adelaide. Since joining the ENDIA team at its inception in 2012, her leadership has been instrumental in achieving the recruitment target of 1500 babies and their families in 2019, with ongoing follow-up planned until 2030.

Drawing upon her expertise as a protein biochemist, Dr Penno developed the strategies for collecting the diverse range biological samples from the ENDIA study participants. Alongside managing ENDIA’s day-to-day operations, she leads a JDRF-funded research program focused on identifying novel biomarkers for type 1 diabetes risk, which are poised to inform innovative strategies for prevention.

→ See Dr Penno’s session in our event program.


Melanie Cullen

Melanie Cullen is a registered psychologist and works at JDRF as the Mental Health Lead. She’s also the Lead for the Insulin Pump Program

Melanie has a long history of working in the diabetes field, both in the public and private sectors. Having worked as a paediatric psychologist at Nepean Diabetes Service for over 10 years, she then completed her Graduate Certificate in Person-centred Diabetes Care and Education.

As the facilitator of JDRF’s Breathe mental health series for parents of kids and teens living with T1D and our Let’s Talk T1D chats, Melanie is dedicated to supporting those living with T1D and their families.

As a mum to a teen who was diagnosed with T1D at age two, she also understands and recognises the demands and psychological burden that a diagnosis can place on all members of the family. 

Melanie will be a moderator at the Type 1 Summit. 


Meriem Daoui

Meriem Daoui is a champion marathon runner, social activist and registered nurse. She was 2023’s Tasmanian Young Australian of the Year, and in 2021, she was awarded the Australian Peter Norman Humanitarian award for her community and philanthropic efforts.

Meriem was diagnosed with T1D at age 8.

Follow Meriem on Instagram.

→ See Meriem’s session in our event program.


Dr Michelle So

Dr Michelle So is a Clinical Research Fellow at St Vincent’s Institute and endocrinologist at Royal Melbourne and Northern Hospitals. She obtained her PhD in 2018 investigating C-peptide as a target of peripheral T-cells in type 1 diabetes. Dr So completed post-doctoral research in the area of type 1 diabetes prevention and translational immunology at the Diabetes Clinical Research Program at Benaroya Research Institute (Seattle, USA) in 2019-2020.

Dr So is the education and training lead for the Australasian Type 1 Diabetes Immunotherapy Collaborative (ATIC) and newly appointed co-director of Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet Australia/New Zealand Clinical Centre.

→ See Dr So’s session in our event program.


Mike Wilson OAM

Mike Wilson joined JDRF in 2004. Under Mike’s leadership, JDRF has been awarded the PricewaterhouseCoopers Transparency Award (2007), the Australian Charity Award for Outstanding Achievement (2013 & 2017) and Australian Charity of the Year (2014) in the Australian Business Awards, and was finalist in the NSW Telstra Business of the Year Awards in 2019.

Mike was a director of the Glycemic Index Foundation Ltd from 2005 to 2016, and a member of the Federal Government’s ministerially appointed National Diabetes Strategy Advisory Group. Prior to joining JDRF Mike worked for The Smith Family, and before that Andersen Consulting.

Mike holds a Bachelor of Economics with Honours and a Bachelor of Science from the Australian National University, where he studied under a National Undergraduate Scholarship. He was awarded an Order of Australia medal in the 2020 Australia Day Honours for services to diabetes research.

→ See Mike’s session in our event program.  


A/Prof Neale Cohen

Associate Professor Neale Cohen is an endocrinologist, clinical researcher and head of the Diabetes Clinical Research Laboratory at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute. He is currently Director of Clinical Services and a consultant physician at the Baker, as well as holding an Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor position with the School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine, Monash University, and Associate Professor, School of Pharmacy, University of Queensland. He leads strategy, development and management of the Diabetes Specialist Services at the Baker, including diabetes, obesity, respiratory and ophthalmology services, a Victorian telehealth service and a satellite service in western Melbourne.

A/Prof Cohen’s research focus includes technology and management of type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes therapeutics and indigenous diabetes.

→ See A/Prof Cohen’s session in our event program.


Parsa Ghasemi Ghashghaei

Parsa is in his fourth year of studying mechatronics engineering. He has a deep passion for electronics and IT, which are also his hobbies.

Parsa was born in Iran and migrated to Australia with his family in 2011.

→ See Parsa’s session in our event program.


Rochelle Stokes

Rochelle Stokes is passionately dedicated to finding a cure for all people living with T1D. Moulded from a health science background, she says she is fortunate to work with the innovative company of Dexcom, encapsulating AMSL Diabetes, which is really making strides in diabetes management.

As a mother of a beautiful girl who lives with T1D, Rochelle has witnessed firsthand the profound impact of technological advancements for diabetes. Seeing her health improve and her confidence grow fuels Rochelle’s commitment to this vital cause. Together, we are working towards a future where diabetes is no longer a burden for anyone.

→ See Rochelle’s session in our event program.


Sahez Harminder Singh

Sahez Harminder Singh, 17, is a speaker at our kids and teens session.

Sahez was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 5. She’s now in my final year of school and hopes to pursue a career where she’s able to help people to the best of her abilities, whether that be in law or the health field.

Sahez enjoys reading and has a passion for community service; whether that be filming for my local war memorial, improving the media presence of the local SES unit, volunteering at Highlands Parkrun as their youngest Run Director, or being a student captain at her high school, she strives to help her community and do it all as someone living with type 1 diabetes.

Her condition is such a large part of who she is that Sahez and her family run an Instagram account (@the.singh.sisters.au) to spread awareness about their lives with  autoimmune conditions.

→ See Sahez’s session in our event program.


Prof Sam El-Osta

Prof Sam El-Osta is an epigeneticist, dedicated to understanding health and disease. His laboratory has contributed to understanding the molecular mechanisms whereby epigenetic changes exert positive and negative transcriptional functions in specific model systems. His team explores the relationship between different classes of co-repressor and activator complexes and the regulation of chromatin remodelling events in maintaining gene expression implicated in disease.

Prof El-Osta has contributed more than 200 articles and publishes research that is highly influential in the field of transcription and chromatin biology.

In recognition of his research into epigenetics, he was awarded AMGEN Australian Medical Researcher of the Year in 2006 by the ASMR Australian Society for Medical Research.

→ See Prof El-Osta’s session in our event program.


Simone Collins

Simone has practiced social work for over 20 years, working with children and families across several government and non-government services.

Simone has spent more than a decade specialising in the psychosocial impacts of diabetes diagnoses, adjustment and management on children, youth and families, drawing on her clinical expertise in child and adolescent mental health, family therapy, group work and individual therapy.

Simone has contributed her expert knowledge on numerous diabetes resources, both published and online, focusing on child and parental wellbeing.
Simone provides clinical services to the Paediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes Service within Canberra Health Services.

→ See Simone’s session in our event program.  


Suzanne Culph

Suzanne Culph is JDRF’s head of government relations and advocacy. She’s worked at JDRF since 2012 and been involved in every government campaign at JDRF since that time, including twoKids in the House, the expansion of the T1D Clinical Research Network, as well as the Insulin Pump Program, and the establishment, evaluation and expansion of the CGM access program.

→ See Suzanne’s session in our event program.  


Vas Sgourakis

Vas is a registered music therapist who studied at The University of Melbourne, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) in 2020 and a Master of Music Therapy in 2023. Vas currently works in schools with primary school-aged children, using music to support their health and wellbeing. As a music therapist, Vas has experience working across a number of settings including specialist education, paediatric and adolescent cancer care, dementia care and community-based support for people with physical and intellectual disabilities.

Vas is a proud type 1 diabetic herself, and 2025 will mark her 20th year of living with type 1.

→ See Vas’s session in our event program.  

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