Forsyth Institute scientists have added more than 80 species to the newly expanded Human Oral Microbiome Database (eHOMD), an online index of microbial species present in the mouth and respiratory tract, including the nasal passages and throat.
Founded in 1910, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Forsyth Institute is the only independent, non-profit, research organization in the United States dedicated to understanding the relationship between oral health and overall wellness.
The institute’s scientists are guiding the development of the emerging field of personalized medicine through their pioneering biomedical research, which has direct applications in diagnostics, devices and therapies. Forsyth is committed to solving the challenges of treating underserved populations in the local community and on a national and global scale.
The expanded database represents two years of collaborative work between two teams of Forsyth researchers led by Isabel Fernandez Escapa, Katherine P. Lemon and Floyd E. Dewhirst with major contributions from Tsute Chen, Yanmei Huang and Prasad Gajare.
The eHOMD resource now contains 772 microbial species and has put the Forsyth researchers at the cutting edge of the challenge of identifying and capturing the full genomic information of all species that comprise the human oral and upper respiratory tract microbiome.
Of all the microbes in eHOMD, 57% are officially named, 13% unnamed but cultivated and 30% are known only as uncultivated phylotypes. For comparison, this is substantially better characterized than environment samples, where it has been estimated that 81% of genera are unnamed and essentially unknown.
The advantage of eHOMD is that it provides a provisional naming system from as-yet-uncultivated microbes, allowing comparison of research from labs worldwide.
The eHOMD project was instigated with key support from Harvard Catalyst and further supported in part by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“The expanded HOMD will provide a wealth of information for researchers worldwide who are beginning to recognize the connection between oral health and overall wellness,” … “The Forsyth Institute’s culture of collaboration and experiential environment allowed for this major step, solidifying Forsyth’s status as a world leader in oral and craniofacial health research.” – Wenyuan Shi, CEO and Chief Scientific Officer at The Forsyth Institute
“The expansion of HOMD will allow scientists studying all sections of the aerodigestive system, not just the mouth, to use a carefully curated database for the bacteria that live on and in the nose, sinuses, throat, esophagus and mouth,” … “We have brought together key information and analytical tools for scientists and physicians to use to better understand human health and disease.” – Floyd Dewhirst, Senior Member of Staff at The Forsyth Institute