The 2014 USFCC/J. Roger Porter Award has been presented to Floyd E. Dewhirst, DDS, Ph.D., The Forsyth Institute, Cambridge, Massachusetts, for his leadership in the field of oral bacterial taxonomy through the creation of the Human Oral Microbiome Database (HOMD). The HOMD provides the scientific community with comprehensive information on the approximately 700 predominant bacterial species present in the human oral cavity. According to William Wade, King’s College London, "the database is an extremely valuable resource for researchers."
Dewhirst received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of California at Santa Barbara and his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of California at San Francisco. After obtaining his Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of Rochester, he began his research career at The Forsyth Institute, where continues his work today. He also is a Professor at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. Since 1988, his research has focused on defining the diversity of the microorganisms that inhabit the human oral cavity. His research group created the HOMD to provide a provisional taxonomic scheme for unnamed oral taxa based on 16S rRNA phylogenetic analyses, including uncultivated taxa known only from cloning studies. The HOMD provides search and visualization tools to explore all high coverage genomes for human oral bacteria. His group has also made a major effort to identify isolates for previously uncultivated and unnamed oral taxa and has deposited over 150 isolates into publically available culture collections.