Professor Leonard Harrison

Professor Leonard Harrison

FAHMS

NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow & Laboratory Head, Molecular Medicine Division
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
Fellow
Elected in 2015
VIC
Citation on election

Professor Len Harrison was among the first to characterise the insulin receptor, including its clinical relevance. He inaugurated Australian research into the pathogenesis, pre-clinical diagnosis and prevention of type 1 diabetes (T1D). He discoveries include: mechanisms of pancreatic beta-cell destruction, the primacy of insulin as an autoantigen, protective immune tolerance induced by insulin, T-cell epitopes in pancreatic beta-cell autoantigens; insulin resistance as a risk factor for T1D and the CD52-Siglec system of immune regulation. Following ‘proof-of-concept’ studies in mice, he has conducted a series of trials, currently Phase 2b, of a nasal insulin vaccine to prevent T1D.

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