Professor of Biological Sciences
Areas of Expertise
Molecular biology and genetics of viruses
Fraser has discovered and patented a movable piece of genetic material called “piggyBac.” PiggyBac is a piece of DNA known as a transposon that can insert itself into the genetic machinery of a cell. In a new technique, Canadian and Scottish scientists used piggyBac to coax skin cells of mice and humans into a state that appears biologically identical to embryonic stem cells. Fraser’s studies in Notre Dame’s Laboratory of Molecular Virology merge research into molecular virology and transgenic engineering with the goal of advancing applications that favorably impact the human condition. A major thrust of his research is the use of molecular approaches to understanding and manipulating virus genetics in ways that permit beneficial transgenic alternation of the hosts to resist a given virus. He is currently exploring novel ribozyme approaches for thje suppression of Dengue virus in transgenic mosquitoes and for combating chronic human virus infections such as HIV and Hepatitis C. Fraser is the recipient of a $2.5 million grant from the Global Challenges in Global Health Initiative for a program to develop a new approach to controlling Dengue fever.