Q & A with Dr Andrew Sutherland, St Vincent Hospital, University of Adelaide 30 June 2021 Why is diabetes research important? Diabetes is steadily increasing in Australia and around the world. New treatments are essential to improve quality of life for people with diabetes and reduce the overall pressure of diabetes and its complications on the healthcare system. Why did you get into diabetes research? I’ve always been fascinated by the immune system and its complexity and was inspired by the potential for immune therapies to cure autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes. How long have you been involved in diabetes research? Over a decade. I started working on type 1 diabetes projects during my post-doctoral research in Boston. These have evolved into many of the projects that we work on today which seek to better understand the ways the immune system misbehaves in type 1 diabetes. What contribution would you like to make in the field of diabetes? Our current research is focussed on a class of immune cells called Th17 cells and the ways they contribute to type 1 diabetes development. We aim to identify new immune therapies targeting these cells that could be used in clinical trials and one day lead to a cure for type 1 diabetes. Who has been the greatest influence in your career? My father was a medical researcher in the field of cancer biology, and we shared a love of science and learning. We often discussed biology, the importance of pushing the limits of current knowledge and the ultimate goal of medical research to make a difference and improve quality of life. If you weren’t a researcher, what would you do? I always wanted to be a professional cricketer, so if I had been a better at cricket, I could have taken that path.