Associate Professor John Wentworth

Associate Professor John Wentworth



Associate Professor John Wentworth in the lab


Associate Professor

MBBS (Hons) Qld PhD Cantab FRACP

Clinician Scientist

Lab focus: Preventing diabetes

My research aims to determine the best ways to prevent and treat type 1 and type 2 diabetes. To do this, I study patients from our clinic who have diabetes or who are at high risk of developing it.

In some of our clinical trials we compare different treatment or prevention strategies to determine what works and what doesn’t. Blood samples collected along the way are analysed in the laboratory to help us better understand how diabetes develops and how it responds to different treatments. 

Research interest

Type 1 diabetes

I lead several local and multinational clinical trials in collaboration with the Royal Melbourne Hospital, St Vincent’s Institute, Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet,  T1DUK and INNODIA. These include:

  • Type1 Diabetes Immunotherapy Consortium: a network of diabetes centres in Australia and New Zealand that aims to ensure every child diagnosed with type 1 diabetes has access to immune therapy.
  • Type1Screen: screens relatives of people with type 1 diabetes for islet autoantibodies, which indicate an increased risk of developing diabetes in the future.
  • JDRFA General Population Screening Pilot study: due to start 2022. Will compare genetic screening of infants to antibody screening of older children.
  • Abatacept and hydroxychloroquine prevention studies: enroll autoantibody-positive people to test whether abatacept or hydroxychloroquine, immunosuppressant drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, prevent progression to diabetes.​
  • Environmental Determinants of Diabetes (ENDIA) Study which collects blood and other samples from expectant mothers and their babies to identify environmental triggers of diabetes and to screen for better biomarkers of disease.

Type 2 diabetes

The broad aims of my research are to better define how obesity causes type 2 diabetes, and to clarify the role of weight loss as a treatment for this disease. This includes a clinical trial on the long-term impact of weight loss on diabetes. In this, trial participants receive best-practice medical care, or best practice care combined with weight loss surgery. This will define the clinical effects and cost-effectiveness of surgery as a treatment strategy for type 2 diabetes.

In collaboration with kidney specialists based at Royal Melbourne Hospital I am also working to improve weight loss treatments to help obese people with renal failure gain eligibility for renal transplantation and to prevent weight regain following successful transplant surgery.

Associate Professor John Wentworth in a laboratory

A five-year international trial has found that type 1 diabetes can be delayed by an immune therapy.

The therapy, teplizumab, delayed the onset of diabetes in participants by two years.

Image of pancreatic tissue

How inflammatory cells in fat contribute to type 2 diabetes