An $11.8 million, three-year contract with the http://www.nih.govwww.nih.gov and the University of South Florida in Tampa will enable the Alkek Center for Metagenomics and Microbiome Research at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston to help determine if and how the communities of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other single-celled organisms that inhabit the body (the microbiome) affect the risk of, or are associated with, development of type 1 diabetes—a disease that usually starts in childhood or young adulthood.
“The goal of this research is to look for microbial association and a potential viral trigger for the initiation of this disease in people who are genetically susceptible to it,” said Dr. Joseph Petrosino, director of the CMMR and an assistant professor of molecular virology & microbiology, molecular and cellular biology at BCM. Dr. Richard E. Lloyd, professor of molecular virology & microbiology at BCM is a co-principal investigator on the project, and Dr. Rob Knight, associate professor of molecular biophysics at University of Colorado in Boulder, is a lead co-investigator.
Others working with Petrosino at Baylor include Dr. Aleksandar Milosavljevic, associate professor of molecular and human genetics, who will provide analysis of the data, and Dr. Richard Gibbs, director of the Baylor Human Genome Sequencing Center, where the sequencing will take place.
The contract is part of The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young project funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health. The international project involves clinical centers at the University of Colorado in Denver; the Medical College of Georgia (involving Florida and Georgia); Pacific Northwest Diabetes Research Institute in Seattle, Washington; the University of Turku in Finland, the Diabetes Research Institute based in Munich, Germany; and Lund University in Malmo, Sweden. The data coordinating center is at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Dr. Jeffrey Krischer is director of the data coordinating center and the study co-chair of the TEDDY project.