view more News

Cambridge, MA – November 20, 2017 – The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today announced Forsyth Institute senior member of the staff, Floyd Dewhirst, DDS, PhD, as an AAAS Fellow in the Dentistry and Oral Health Sciences field. Dewhirst was elected a Fellow by his peers for his distinguished contributions in the field of molecular microbiology, particularly using molecular methods for the identification and classification of the human oral microbiome.

The tradition of AAAS Fellows began in 1874. This year, Dewhirst joins 395 members who have been awarded this honor by AAAS because of their distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. This year’s fellows will be formally announced in the AAAS News & Notes section of the journal Science on November 24, 2017.

“I am honored to be selected by my peers at AAAS, and I am thankful to my colleagues at the Forsyth Institute for their unwavering support,” said AAAS Fellow and Forsyth Institute Researcher Floyd Dewhirst. “I have been fortunate that my career at Forsyth Institute has coincided with the pioneering work on the identification of the species that make up the oral microbiome. Our team is now applying genetic information on the oral microbiome to further understand how it impacts overall health. I hope to someday complete the genomic library for all species that make up the microbiome.”

Originally trained in dentistry at the University of California, San Francisco and pharmacology at the University of Rochester, Dewhirst has become a leading force behind the characterizing the oral microbiome. At the Forsyth Institute, Dewhirst’s research has helped identify the diverse, genetic capability and pathogenic potential of organisms present in the human oral cavity. Dewhirst has identified the bacteria that can live in oral cavities, both cultivated and previously uncultivated. His efforts have identified approximately 700 species or phylotypes of human oral bacteria that are described in the Human Oral Microbiome Database which is hosted at Forsyth (HOMD –

“We are extremely proud of Floyd for this significant recognition,” said Dr. Wenyuan Shi, CEO and Chief Scientific Officer of the Forsyth Institute. “His scientific contributions are tremendous to our field and will serve as a catalyst for research for years to come as we seek to understand how oral health and overall health are so closely linked. His knowledge has helped create an environment at Forsyth that fosters new and innovative ideas for our entire team.”

This is one of several exciting announcements that has come out of Forsyth in the past four months. Last month, Forsyth Investigator Christopher Johnston was awarded the NIH Transformative Research award for his high-risk, high-reward research on microbes living in the mouth and within the human body. Most recently, a Senior Research Investigator Gary Borisy published the first ever study to reexamine the three-dimensional structure of a diverse array of gut microbes and uncovers some stark differences between the microbial landscape of the gut and those of other body sites, such as the mouth.

Members can be considered for the rank of Fellow if nominated by the steering groups of the Association’s 24 sections, or by any three Fellows who are current AAAS members (so long as two of the three sponsors are not affiliated with the nominee’s institution), or by the AAAS Chief Executive Officer. Fellows must have been continuous members of AAAS for four years by the end of the calendar year in which they are elected.

Each steering group reviews the nominations of individuals within its respective section and a final list is forwarded to the AAAS Council, which votes on the aggregate list.

New AAAS Fellows will be honored at a ceremony on Saturday, February 17, 2018 in Austin, Texas.