Claire M. Fraser, PhD is the Dean E. Albert Reece Endowed Professor and Founding Director of the Institute for Genome Sciences (IGS) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM). She earned her B.S. in Biology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and her PhD in Pharmacology from SUNY Buffalo. Between 1984 and 1992, she held several positions at the National Institutes of Health including Chief, Section on Molecular Neurobiology at NIAAA. She served as President and Director of the Institute for Genomic Research from 1998 – 2007 where her worked helped to launch the field of microbial genomics. She joined the UMSOM in 2007. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and the AAAS and is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the NAS. She served as President of the AAAS in 2020. She has received numerous awards including the E.O. Lawrence Award, the highest honor bestowed on research scientists by the DOE, the Promega Biotechnology Award from the ASM, and the Charles Thom Award from the Society for Industrial Microbiology. She was named to the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame in 2010. Thomson Scientific ICI named her the most highly cited investigator in microbiology from 1995-2005 and she was named one of Thomson Reuter’s World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds in 2014. She has served on many advisory panels for Federal funding agencies, the NRC, and the Department of Defense.

Research Interests

Dr. Fraser is a pioneer in the field of microbial genomics and led the teams that first sequenced the genomes of many important human and animal pathogens as well as diverse environmental microbes. This work revolutionized the way microbiology is studied. She also played a leadership role in the first plant genome projects and the first parasite genome projects and was involved in the early phases of the Human Genome Project. She is one of the world's experts in the field of microbial forensics and her work with the FBI on the Amerithrax investigation between 2001 and 2008 led to the identification of four genetic mutations in the anthrax spores that allowed the samples to be traced back to their original source. She was a charter member of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity and is an expert on dual use research of concern– research that can provide knowledge and technologies that could be misapplied. Her current research interests are focused on the role of the human gut microbiome in health and disease. She has studied changes in the structure and function of the gut microbiome in diseases including obesity and the metabolic syndrome and Crohn's disease, and has also investigated the role of the gut microbiome in the response to infection with enteric pathogens. She has a particular interest in the mechanisms of action of probiotics in preserving the function of the human gut microbiota.

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Primary Section

Section 44: Microbial Biology

Secondary Section

Section 41: Medical Genetics, Hematology, and Oncology