The University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science selected Forest Rohwer, Ph.D. as the 42nd recipient of the Rosenstiel Award in recognition of his research in the development of viromics, the study of the interaction of viral genomes and the environment. The Rosenstiel Award honors scientists who in the past decade have made significant and growing impacts in their field.
Named one of The World's Most Influential Scientific Minds by Thomson Reuters in 2014, Rohwer is a microbial/viral ecologist whose research focuses on the role of viruses and microbes in the environment (particularly in marine and coastal areas). Forest Rohwer is a fellow of the American Academy for Advancement of Science (AAAS), American Academy of Microbiology (AAM) and Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR).
He led the development of viromics, which involves isolating and sequencing the RNA/DNA from all of the viruses in a sample. From this data, it is possible determine what types of viruses are present and what functions they are encoding. Rohwer uses viromics to study ecosystems ranging from the human body to coral reefs and has shown that most genomic diversity on the planet is viral. By applying these approaches to the cystic fibrosis lung, his lab has shown that much of the microbiology in this disease has been missed. These insights are being translated into personalized knowledge about individual patient's disease state and potential treatments. Rohwer has published over 180 peer-reviewed articles, was awarded the International Society of Microbial Ecology Young Investigators Award in 2008, and was listed as one of the World's Most Influential Scientific Minds in 2014. He has also published two books: Coral Reefs in the Microbial Seas and Life in Our Phage World.
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