Bertram Fraser-Reid

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Bertram Fraser-Reid
Born Bertram Oliver Fraser-Reid
(1934-02-23) 23 February 1934 (age 83)
Coleyville, Jamaica
Residence United States
Citizenship Canada and Jamaica
Alma mater Queen's University, University of Alberta
Known for Chiral syntheses using carbohydrates, role of oligosaccharides in immune response

Merck, Sharp & Dohme Award, Chemical Institute of Canada (1977)

Senior Distinguished US Scientist, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (1989)
Claude S. Hudson Award in Carbohydrate Chemistry, American Chemical Society (1990)
Jamaican National Foundation Award (1990)
Percy Julian Award, National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (1991)
Haworth Memorial Medal and Lectureship, Royal Society of Chemistry (1995)
Gold Musgrave Medal, Institute of Jamaica (2007)
Scientific career
Fields Organic chemistry
Institutions University of Waterloo, University of Maryland, Duke University
Doctoral advisor Raymond Lemieux

Bertram Oliver "Bert" Fraser-Reid (born 23 February 1934) is a Jamaican synthetic organic chemist who has been widely recognised for his work using carbohydrates as starting materials for chiral materials and on the role of oligosaccharides in immune response.

Early life[edit]

Fraser-Reid was born in Coleyville, Jamaica and attended Excelsior School and Clarendon College before moving to Canada in 1956.[1] He completed his BSc (1959) and MSc (1961) at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario[2] then went to University of Alberta to earn a PhD in 1964 under the supervision of Raymond Lemieux. He went to Imperial College, in London, to do postdoctoral work for Nobel Laureate Sir Derek Barton from 1964–1966.[3]

Academic career[edit]

From 1966 to 1980 Fraser-Reid was on the faculty of the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario where he established a research group known as "Fraser-Reid's Rowdies".[1] The primary emphasis of his work at this point was the synthesis of chiral natural products using carbohydrates as the starting materials. In 1980 he moved to the University of Maryland, College Park before finally relocating to Duke University in Durham, North Carolina in 1982. In 1985 he became the James B. Duke Professor of Chemistry.[4] While at Duke University his research efforts turned to exploring the role of oligosaccharides in immune responses, and particularly on the role these molecules play in human diseases like malaria and AIDS. After his retirement from Duke in 1996, which was linked to an undisclosed harassment claim,[5] he established the non-profit Natural Products & Glycotechnology Research Institute Inc. to study the carbohydrate chemistry/biology of tropical parasitic diseases in Third World countries with one goal being to develop a carbohydrate-based malaria vaccine.[3] Fraser-Reid and collaborators at this institute recently achieved a milestone in oligosaccharide synthesis by assembling a molecule consisting of 28 monosaccharide units.[6]


Several sources have reported that Fraser-Reid was nominated in 1998 for a Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work on oligosaccharides and immune responses.[1][7][8] This statement cannot be verified since the names of the nominees are never publicly announced, and neither are they told that they have been considered for the Prize. Nomination records are sealed for fifty years.

The Institute of Jamaica awarded Fraser-Reid the 2007 Musgrave Gold Medal for his work in chemistry, noting that during his career he co-authored over 330 peer-reviewed publications and supervised 85 post-doctoral fellows and 55 PhD students.[8]

Other interests[edit]

Apart from his interests in science, Fraser-Reid is an accomplished musician, having given piano and organ recitals at notable venues such as St. George's Cathedral, Kingston, Jamaica (December 1986) and Cathedral de Seville, Spain (August 1995).[8]

In the 1970s Fraser-Reid was involved in a lawsuit against a building contractor who had not followed municipal building codes. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, Fraser-Reid prevailed and "Fraser-Reid v Droumtsekas" is often cited in Canadian civil law.[9]


  1. ^ a b c Nelson, Jaevion (20 April 2005). "Panorama: Let Us Honour a Great Man". Retrieved 16 November 2007. 
  2. ^ "Fraser-Reid Biography". Retrieved 16 November 2007. 
  3. ^ a b "The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed: Fraser-Reid"., University of Washington, Seattle. Retrieved 16 November 2007. 
  4. ^ "Fraser-Reid biography". BookRags. Retrieved 20 November 2007. 
  5. ^ Dillon, Justin (31 May 1995). "Professor retires amid harassment allegations". The Chronicle Online, The Independent Daily at Duke University. Retrieved 19 September 2012. 
  6. ^ "Largest Synthetic Hetero-Oligosaccharide". Chemical and Engineering News. 8 November 2006. Retrieved 20 November 2007. 
  7. ^ Sheil, Ross (17 January 2007). "The sugar doctor". Jamaica Gleaner. Archived from the original on 15 December 2007. Retrieved 16 November 2007. 
  8. ^ a b c "Musgrave Medal Citation" (PDF). Retrieved 20 November 2007. [dead link]
  9. ^ Bharwani, Esmail (17 June 2004). "Do the sale agreement words constitute an express warranty?". Dollars & Sense Vol. 22 No. 25. Calgary Realestate Board. Retrieved 21 November 2007.