Malcolm J. Fraser, ESA Fellow (2009)

Dr. Malcolm J. Fraser, Jr. earned his B.S. degree at Wheeling College in 1975, and his M.S. (1979) and Ph.D. (1981) in entomology with emphasis in invertebrate pathology at the Ohio State University in the laboratory of W. Fred Hink. Following postdoctoral work with Bill McCarthy at Penn State (1981) and Max D. Summers (1981-83) at Texas A&M University, he joined the faculty of Biological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame and rose to his present position as professor. Dr. Fraser’s research has followed his interest in insect virology and invertebrate transgenesis from early work with baculoviruses to his latest work with Dengue fever virus.

Among his contributions are the development of an agarose-based plaque assay for baculoviruses that permitted the characterization of a unique group of baculovirus mutants associated with acquisition of host transposons. One of these transposons, named piggyBac, has been developed over the years into a functional gene vector for protist (Plasmodium falciparum), invertebrate, and vertebrate transgenesis. During his tenure in the Summers lab, he participated in the development of the baculovirus expression vector system. While at Notre Dame, he established the currently accepted model for baculovirus assembly, elaborated the genetics of transposon mutagenesis of baculoviruses, and developed the piggyBac transposon vector system. More recently he has pursued novel ribozyme approaches to suppression of Dengue fever virus in transgenic mosquitoes as part of a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges in Global Health award.

He is a member of the newly endowed Eck Institute for Global Health at UND, and his current research projects include development of transgenic refractoriness for Dengue virus in Aedes as a possible means for intervention and prevention, developing improvements in transgenesis of mosquito vectors for both genetic manipulation and functional genomics analyses, and exploitation of transgenic Bombyx mori as protein bioreactors.

Fraser has mentored 11 postdoctoral associates, 12 Ph.D. students, and over 40 undergraduate research students. He has co-authored 7 patents and over 65 publications. Past honors include recipient of an NIH Research Career Development Award, fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, and fellow of the Royal Entomological Society of London. He has served as secretary and chairman of the Invertebrate Division of the Tissue Culture Association, and as panel member for the entomology and nematology study sections of both USDA-ARS and NIH/NIAID. Memberships include the American Chemical Society, American Society for Virology, American Society for Microbiology, AAAS, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and the Genetics Society of America.

(updated August, 2009)