Largest grant in USF history awarded

A team of USF researchers led by Jeffrey Krischer has received a $169 million grant to study juvenile diabetes, the University announced Wednesday.

The grant, awarded by The National Institutes of Health, is the largest in USF history, and will fund a 15-year study that tracks children with genetic predispositions to diabetes from early childhood through adolescence.

The numbers of the study are staggering.

More than 360,000 newborns around the world will be screened for the study, 8,000 of them selected, and the results of more than 100,000 lab tests tracked.

Since the 1980’s, the incidence of juvenile diabetes has doubled.

The study, tagged with the acronym TEDDY for “The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young” will seek to identify environmental differences that may account for the trend.

“The incidence of diabetes has been increasing every year, and we don’t know why,” said Krischer, who is co-chair of the study and professor of pediatrics at USF Health. “It can’t be just genes.”

“We know that some children have a greater genetic risk of diabetes, but only

10 percent of those eventually develop the disease,” he said. “This study gives us a large enough group of newborns to analyze factors in their lifestyle, diet or environment that may trigger the disease.”

Newborns and their families will be selected and recruited over a five-year period and followed to age 15.

“The study is really part of a multifaceted effort (at USF Health) focused on the factors that cause diabetes and how to prevent them,” Krischer said.

David Guidi can be reached at (813) 974-1888 or