How and why do T cells kill the insulin-secreting cells in people who develop type 1 diabetes: new evidence from the scene of the crime

Associate Professor Stuart Mannering, Head, Human T-cell Laboratory, Immunology and Diabetes Unit, St. Vincent's Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, VIC

Associate Professor Stuart Mannering completed his PhD, in 1998, on human Dendritic cells with Derek Hart. For his first postdoc he went The University of Melbourne where he worked with Christina Cheers on T-cell responses to mycobacterial infection. Then he moved to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute to join Len Harrison’s group and work on human T-cell responses in type 1 diabetes (T1D). In 2008 he established his group at St. Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research where he continues to study human T-cell responses associated with T1D.

The major focus of his group’s work is to dissect the immune pathology of human autoimmune T-cell response that causes T1D. His group was the first to isolate viable human T cells from the islets of organ donors who had suffered from T1D. Currently their focus is on identifying antigens and epitopes ‘seen’ by human islet-infiltrating T cells and developing murine models to investigate the pathogenicity of human T cells. Eventually this work will contribute to the development of effective antigen-specific therapies to prevent, or eventually cure, T1D.

He is currently supported by a JDRF Career Development Award and grants from NHMRC, American Diabetes Association and JDRF-Australia T1D Clinical Research Network. In 2015 he received the JDRF-Macquarie Foundation Diabetes Global Research Innovation Award he was awarded the Diabetes Australia Millennium Award and in 2017.