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The Forsyth Institute receives prestigious NIH award to advance research on oral microbiome and all microbe-related fields

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07/01/2018

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the Forsyth Institute has received a $5.4 million award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study oral Microbiome. The prestigious NIH Director's Transformative Research Award has been granted to Forsyth Investigator Christopher Johnston and his colleagues. The grant recognizes exceptionally creative scientists pursuing high-risk, high- reward research that spans multiple disciplines and has the potential to challenge current paradigms.

This award will propel some truly game-changing research that promises to accelerate progress in oral health as well as numerous other fields

said Dr. Wenyuan Shi, CEO and Chief Scientific Officer of the Forsyth Institute

The microbes that live in the mouth, known collectively as the oral microbiome, are a topic of intense focus at Forsyth and other research institutions as they are thought to be the gateway to many diseases as they enter the human body. Some of these microbes promote disease while others can guard against it; determining whether a microbe is a friend or foe (or even both) requires painstaking scientific scrutiny. Other collaborator on the project is Floyd Dewhirst, a pioneer in oral microbiome research. The researchers will investigate key bacterial members of the oral microbiome that have remained beyond scientists’ reach, such as clinical isolates of Fusobacterium nucleatum. This microbe is a key component of the plaque that normally accumulates on tooth surfaces and has gained notoriety in recent years for its association with the growth of colorectal tumors.

The ability to rapidly and systematically engineer any oral microbe will be a fundamental paradigm shift,

said Dewhirst.

It will overcome a major barrier that now limits research on these species, which play a key role in both oral and systemic health.

 

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Eduardo Pareja