Claire M. Fraser

Class of 1977
Pioneering Genome Explorer

Claire Fraser helped launch the field of microbial genomics and revolutionized the way microbiology has been studied. In a landmark publication in 1995, she reported on the first complete genome sequence of a free-living organism, H. influenzae.

Since then she has become one of the world’s most highly cited microbiologists. She has overseen the genome sequencing of important human pathogens, including bacterial infections that cause cholera and anthrax, and parasitic infections responsible for malaria and other devastating diseases in the developing world. Her pioneering work in the sequencing and analysis of human, animal, plant, and microbial genomes has led to a better understanding of the role that genes play in evolution, physiology, and disease.

A former president of The Institute for Genomic Research, in 2007 she launched the Institute for Genome Sciences at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Fraser has led the way in applying genomic and bioinformatic tools to address challenges in disease research, bioterrorism, and environmental issues.