Luminary Award recognises world-leading diabetes research

Paediatric endocrinologist and diabetes researcher, Professor Jennifer Couper has been presented with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Luminary Award.

Professor Jennifer Couper has received the JDRF Luminary Award.

Recently presented at the JDRF Type 1 Diabetes Clinical Research Network Symposium in Sydney, the award acknowledges an outstanding researcher whose career has had a tremendous impact on the lives of people living with T1D. 

“This was a big surprise and big honour but of course any of one's achievements are due to a big team of amazing people,” Professor Couper said. 

“It makes us all the more determined to ensure our research provides the best possible contributions.” 

There are 150,000 people living with type 1 diabetes in Australia. Professor Couper’s research, conducted at the University of Adelaide’s Robinson Research Institute, seeks to understand the early origins of the development of the disease in children. 

“Throughout her career, Prof Jenny Couper has been at the very pinnacle of her field. She heads the first investigation globally of the early life origins of [type 1 diabetes], the Environmental Determinants of Islet Autoimmunity (ENDIA) study,” said Jonathan Salmon, Chair of the JDRF Research Committee. 

For more than a decade, the ENDIA study has tracked 1500 Australian children with an immediate family member living with type 1 diabetes to investigate why some children develop type 1 diabetes and others do not. 

It is the world’s first and largest study to identify how genetics and the environment interact from pregnancy through early childhood to drive or protect against the disease. 

Researchers look at environmental exposures such as viral infection, the microbiome, immune function and nutrition, to understand their connection to onset of the lifelong auto-immune condition. 

Professor Couper’s work has also shown which biomarkers are important in children with type 1 diabetes to detect cardiovascular disease early and intervene. 

Professor Jennifer Couper has received the JDRF Luminary Award.

Professor Jennifer Couper has received the JDRF Luminary Award.

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