2014 International Symposium
Claire M. Fraser, PhD
Drexel Prize in Infectious Disease Lecture:
"The Human Microbiome in Health and Disease"
Claire M. Fraser, PhD, is a world-renowned scientist who launched a new field of study — microbial genomics — and through her ground-breaking research and pioneering leadership in this field, has fundamentally changed our understanding of the diversity and evolution of microbial life on Earth.
In 2007, Dr. Fraser was recruited to the University of Maryland School of Medicine as the director of the newly-formed Institute for Genome Sciences. Previously, from 1998 to 2007, she was president and director of The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) in Rockville, Md., and led the teams that sequenced the genomics of many important bacterial and parasitic pathogens and the first model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana. Dr. Fraser’s seminal work on the 2001 Amerithrax investigation led to the identification of four genetic mutations in the anthrax spores that enabled the FBI to trace the material back to its original source. Her current research is an integral part of the Human Microbiome Project and is focused on how the structure and function of microbial communities in the human gastrointestinal tract change in association with diseases such as obesity and inflammatory bowel disease.
She has authored more than 300 publications, edited three books, and served on the editorial boards of nine scientific journals. Her numerous awards and honors include the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award (2002), the highest honor bestowed on research scientists by the DOE; fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2005); the Promega Biotechnology Award, the American Society of Microbiology (2005); fellowship, American Academy of Microbiology (2005); mostly highly cited investigator in microbiology from 1998 to 2007, Thomson Scientific ICI; Charles Thom Award, Society for Industrial Microbiology (2006); Pioneer of Science Award, Hauptmann Woodward Institute (2008); Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame (2010); Rensselaer Alumni Hall of Fame (2011); and election into the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (2011).
Dr. Fraser has served on advisory panels for all of the major federal funding agencies, the National Research Council, the Department of Defense, and the intelligence community. She graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a BS in biology and earned her PhD in pharmacology from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
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