Claire M. Fraser
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Claire M. Fraser PhD (born 1955) is an American microbiologist who launched a new field of study, microbial genomics, and through her research and leadership in this field, has contributed to understanding of the diversity and evolution of microbial life on Earth.
Fraser received her B.S. degree in Biology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1977 and her Ph.D. degree in Pharmacology at the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1981. She was inducted into Rensselaer's Alumni Hall of Fame in 2011.
From 1998 to 2007, Fraser was president and director of The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) in Rockville, MD, and led the teams that sequenced the genomes of many important bacterial and parasitic pathogens and the first model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana. Fraser’s 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. This effort catalyzed the development of the field of microbial forensics. 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, and how these communities respond to interventions including oral vaccination and probiotics administration.
Fraser has written more than 300 publications, edited three books, and served on the editorial boards of nine scientific journals. Her awards and honors include the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award (2002), the highest honor bestowed on research scientists by the Department of Energy; AAAS Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2005); the Promega Biotechnology Award, the American Society for Microbiology (2005); Fellowship, American Academy of Microbiology (2005); most highly cited investigator in microbiology for previous 10 years, 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 to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (2011).
She has served on many advisory panels for all 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 B.S. in biology and earned her Ph.D. in pharmacology from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
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