Megan Penno

Dr Megan Penno

Grant-Funded Researcher (C)

Adelaide Medical School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Dr Megan Penno (BSc Hons PhD, University of Melbourne) is the National Project Manager for the Environmental Determinants of Islet Autoimmunity (ENDIA) study and Grant-Funded Research at the University of Adelaide, Australia. ENDIA is the first study in the world to explore how environmental exposures from pregnancy through early life may contribute to, or protect against, the development of childhood type 1 diabetes. 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 recruitment of 1500 mother-infant dyads in late 2019. Drawing on her skills in ‘omics research, Dr Penno was the first author of the published ENDIA protocol and developed the sample and data collection strategies that will underpin all future investigations involving ENDIA participants. She has contributed to numerous successful national and international funding applications relating to ENDIA with a total value exceeding AU$21m over the past 5 years. Her research interests include biomarker discovery for disease risk stratification. In 2018, Dr Penno was selected for the JDRF Australia/Macquarie Group Foundation Future Research Leaders Program. This competitive program aims to support researchers in the early-mid stages of their careers to develop leadership potential.

For more information about the ENDIA study please visit our website at

ENDIA study team

Evolution of the ENDIA Study team from 2016 (bottom) to 2021 (top)

I have significantly contributed to numerous successful funding applications totalling >AU$21 million in the past 5 years:

  • 2020 Diabetes SA Research Grant "Deep profiling for early biomarkers of progression to islet autoimmunity and type 1 diabetes in mother-infant dyads participating in the ENDIA study" (CIA Penno, CIB Couper, CIC Harrison, CID Wentworth, CIE Knight). AU$100,000

  • 2020 JDRF, T1DCRN and The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust Request for Application "Australian Type 1 Diabetes Clinical research Network – ENDIA 2020/2022" (3-SRA-2020-966-M-N: CIA Couper, CIB Harrison, CIC Craig, CID Penno, et al). AU$8,253,170

  • 2019 JDRF, T1DCRN and The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust Request for Application "ENDIA 2019" (CIA Couper, CIB Harrison, CIC Craig, CID Penno, et al). AU$4,064,074

  • 2018 Women's and Children's Hospital Foundation Research Grant "Using continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) to characterise early dysglycaemia in childre at-risk of type 1 diabetes participating in the ENDIA study" (CIA Penno, CIB Couper, CIC Haynes, CID Thomson). AU$75,000

  • 2018 JDRF International: SRA "Testing the potential of human gut microbiota to prevent type 1 diabetes in the germ-free NOD mouse model" (CIA Harrison, CIB Couper, CIC Penno). US$120,000

  • 2018 Australasian Paediatric Endocrine Group 2018 Research Grant “Using continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) to characterise early dysglycaemia in young children at risk of Type 1 diabetes” (CIA Haynes, CIB Couper, CIC Davis, CID Craig, CIE Harris, CIF Colman, CIG Penno). AU$15,000

  • 2018 Diabetes SA Research Grant “The impact of modifiable exposures in the parents’ and child’s environment on the risk of type 1 diabetes” (CIA Couper, CIB Makrides, CIC Thomson, CID Penno, CIE Giles). AU$50,000

  • 2017 JDRF International: The Role of the Microbiome in Type 1 Diabetes SRA “Maternal-infant microbiomes that precede the onset of islet autoimmunity” (1-SRA-2018-543-S-B; CIA Harrison, CIB Couper, CIC Penno et al). US$249,243

  • 2016 Robinson Research Institute Engaging Opportunities Program: “The conception of a preconception resource – #rightmessage #rightaudience #righttime #conceptionhealthmatters” (CIA Brown and the E/MCR Conception Consortium including CI Penno). AU$25,000

  • 2015 Robinson Research Institute Cohort and Intergenerational Studies Facility Initiative Grant “Strike a Cord: the development and implementation of a RRI umbilical cord blood and placental tissue biobank” (CIA Barry, CIB Penno, et al). AU$10,000

  • 2015 JDRF Australian Type 1 Diabetes Clinical Research Network and The Helmsley Charitable Trust Partnership “Environmental Determinants of Islet Autoimmunity (ENDIA) study” (CIA Couper, CIB Harrison, et al). Named in application as Project Manager, I was one of three people in the grant writing group. AU$8,006,375


Successful funding applications >5 years ago

  • 2014 NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence “Centre of Research Excellence for the Protection of Pancreatic Beta Cells" (APP1078106; CIA Couper, CIB Harrison, et al). Named in the application as Project Manager at PSP4. AU$2,500,000

  • 2013 Robinson Research Institute Capacity Building in Bioinformatics and Biostatistics Funding Program "Changing the environment to prevent type 1 diabetes" (CIA Couper, CIB Penno). AU$18,000

  • 2013 JDRF International. Studies Relevant to the Prevention of Human Type 1 Diabetes "Environmental Determinants of Islet Autoimmunity" (17-2013-526; CIA Couper). US$493,000

  • 2013 ARC LEIF "Establishment of the Protein Quantitation Centre of South Australia: PQCSA" (LE130100199; CIA Hoffmann, CIB Chataway, et al). AU$475,000

Lecturer, Biology of Childhood Health Course: 2018, 2019, 2020

  • Position: Grant-Funded Researcher (C)
  • Phone: 81618747
  • Email:
  • Fax: 81617031
  • Campus: Womens & Childrens Hospital
  • Building: WCH - Clarence Rieger Building, floor 2
  • Org Unit: Women's and Children's Health

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