Megan Penno

Dr Megan Penno

Project Manager

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 will complete recruitment in 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$12m 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

Evolution of the ENDIA Team

Evolution of the ENDIA Study team from 2013 (bottom) to 2019 (top)

  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2019 Grant Funded Researcher University of Adelaide
    2015 - 2018 Academic Research Clinical Coordinator University of Adelaide
    2012 - 2014 Senior Clinical Research Coordinator University of Adelaide
    2007 - 2012 Post-doctoral fellow University of Adelaide
    2006 - 2006 Grant Funded Scientist Hanson Institute
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2018 Award CUDOS 2018 Conference poster prize Sidra Medicine Qatar
    2018 Nomination JDRF Australia & Macquarie Group Foundation Future Leader Program JDRF Australia Australia
    2014 Award Robinson Research Institute Travel Award University of Adelaide, Robinson Research Institute Australia $1,100
    2011 Award Research Career Development Network (RCDN) Workshop Award University of Adelaide, School of Molecular and Biomedical Sciences Australia $2,000
    2008 Award Overseas Conference Scheme Travel Award University of Adelaide, Faculty of Science Australia $2,000
    2004 Award American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Graduate Travel Award The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology United States US$1,000
    2004 Award Dawson Bursary The University of Melbourne Australia $6,000
    2004 Award School of Botany Travel Scholarship The University of Melbourne, School of Botany Australia
    2003 Scholarship Sir John and Lady Higgins Research Scholarship The University of Melbourne Australia $70,000
  • Language Competencies

    Language Competency
    English Can read, write, speak, understand spoken and peer review
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2003 - 2007 University of Melbourne Australia PhD
    1999 - 2002 University of Melbourne Australia BSc (Honours)
  • Research Interests

I have significantly contributed to several successful funding applications for the ENDIA study, as well as for my previous position at the Adelaide Proteomics Centre, totalling >AU$12 million in the past 5 years:

  • 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$3,961,498

  • 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

  • 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 and 2019

  • Mentoring

    Date Topic Location Name
    2015 - ongoing Specimen collection for pancreatic volume study Women's and Children's Hospital Priya Augustine
    2013 - ongoing Microbiome studies involving the TIGS cohort University of Adelaide Jessica Harbison
  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2019 - ongoing Member Research Freezer Management Policy Working Group The University of Adelaide Australia
    2016 - ongoing Member Health Consumer Engagement Executive Subcommittee University of Adelaide, Robinson Research Institute Australia
    2016 - 2016 Member RRI 2016 Symposium Organising Committee University of Adelaide, Robinson Research Institute Australia
    2016 - ongoing Founder RRI Early/Mid Career Researcher Committee University of Adelaide, Robinson Research Institute Australia
    2016 - ongoing Chair ENDIA Steering Committee ENDIA Study Group Australia
    2016 - ongoing Member ENDIA Steering Committee Executive The ENDIA Study Australia
    2015 - ongoing Member The High Performance Researcher Group ThinkWell Australia
    2014 - 2015 Member Adelaide Family Health Study Protocol Development Working Group The University of Adelaide, Robinson Research Institute Australia
    2014 - ongoing Founder Robinson Research Institute Study Coordinator Network Advisory Committee The University of Adelaide, Robinson Research Institute Australia
    2013 - ongoing Member Robinson Research Institute CIS Facility Steering Group University of Adelaide, Robinson Research Institute Australia
    2013 - ongoing Member JDRF International Microbiome Consortium JDRF International Australia
    2007 - 2009 Member Adelaide Protein Group Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Australia
  • Position: Project Manager
  • Phone: 81618747
  • Email:
  • Fax: 8161 7031
  • Campus: Womens & Childrens Hospital
  • Building: WCH - Clarence Rieger Building, floor 2
  • Org Unit: Paediatrics and Reproductive Health

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