About us

The Diabetes Research Centre is a network of clinicians, scientists and research nurses at The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and The Royal Melbourne Hospital, led by Professors Len Harrison and Peter Colman, and Associate Professor John Wentworth.

Our research focuses on:

  • Pre-clinical diagnosis, prediction and prevention of type 1 diabetes

  • The role of the environment in diabetes

  • The mechanisms of insulin resistance and new treatments for type 2 diabetes

The Diabetes Research Centre team has extensive experience in both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes research and clinical management.

Professor Len Harrison

Professor Len Harrison has been working in diabetes research since 1974.


He is a lead researcher in the Population Health and Immunity Division at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and a consultant immunologist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

His major research interests are immune regulation and immune therapies, applied to type 1 diabetes. His achievements are documented in more than 500 clinical and basic research publications and a number of patents.


His awards for research include C.J. Martin Fellowship, Wellcome Australia (Glaxo) Medal, Susman Prize (Royal Australian College of Physicians), Kellion Medal (Australian Diabetes Society) and Rumbough Award for Scientific Excellence (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation-JDRF). He was awarded the 2013 JDRF Lifetime Research Achievement Award for his research on the pathogenesis, prediction and prevention of type 1 diabetes.

Profssor Len Harrison
Professor Peter Colman
Professor Peter Colman

Professor Peter Colman graduated in medicine from Monash University and trained in diabetes/ endocrinology at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.


Peter's MD studies were in autoimmunity of type 1 diabetes with Professor Len Harrison at the University of Melbourne. He then worked with Professor George Eisenbarth at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. 


Peter heads the Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology at Royal Melbourne Hospital, where he is involved in clinical care of people with diabetes. He is an Investigator on various national and international research projects and in the Diabetes Research Centre investigates new treatments for people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

In 2017, Peter was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours and awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his significant service to medicine in the field of endocrinology, particularly diabetes research, patient education and clinical management.

Associate Professor John Wentworth

Associate Professor John Wentworth attended the University of Queensland Medical School and worked as a junior doctor at Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital. He then travelled to Cambridge to undertake medical research before returning in 1999 to complete clinical training in Sydney and Melbourne. 


John is a key researcher on multiple national and international research projects, overseeing the TrialNet studies in Australia and New Zealand.


John is a visiting endocrinologist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, and is a senior researcher at The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, where he performs laboratory research to better understand why diabetes develops and how best to treat it.

Associate Professor John Wentworth