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John Sherris, MD, clinical microbiologist and professor emeritus in the UW School of Medicine Department of Microbiology, died on May 2 at age 100.

A dedicated educator and researcher, Sherris spent 27 years at UW Medicine. During that time, he held positions such as director of Clinical Microbiology Laboratories and chair of the Department of Microbiology.

In his lifetime he made many contributions in the development of antibiotic susceptibility testing methods — laboratory tests that help identify which antimicrobial treatment (like antibiotics) is effective for patients — by making testing more accessible and standardized, and ultimately improving patient care.

Career highlights

Dedicated to education. Sherris advanced reform of the UW School of Medicine curriculum and established the first UW postdoctoral training program in public health microbiology. He also wrote a leading textbook “Sherris Medical Microbiology.”

Recognized for his research. Sherris developed disk diffusion susceptibility testing — a highly reproducible method that revolutionized antibiotic susceptibility testing worldwide. 

Celebrated for his work internationally. Sherris was honored with many awards and even served on the World Health Organization’s Expert Advisory Panel on Biological Standardization.

Remembering Sherris