Microbial and Viral Ecologist Honored as 2016 Rosenstiel Award Recipient

MIAMI  – 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.

The Rosenstiel Award, created through a generous endowment from the Rosenstiel Foundation, is an award that recognizes scientists for their outstanding contributions in six broad disciplinary areas: atmospheric sciences, marine geosciences, marine biology and ecology, marine ecosystems and society and ocean sciences. It is awarded to researchers that are making outstanding scientific contributions during their early to mid career.

About the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School

The University of Miami is one of the largest private research institutions in the southeastern United States. The University’s mission is to provide quality education, attract and retain outstanding students, support the faculty and their research, and build an endowment for University initiatives. Founded in the 1940’s, the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world’s premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the Rosenstiel School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life. For more information, please visit

L to R: Chris Langdon, Chair Department Marine Biology and Ecology, Forest Rohwer, Ph.D., Andrew Baker, Associate Professor Department Marine Biology and Ecology
L to R: Chris Langdon, Chair Department Marine Biology and Ecology, Forest Rohwer, Ph.D., Andrew Baker, Associate Professor Department Marine Biology and Ecology

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