The University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore has named preeminent genome scientist and microbiologist Claire M. Fraser-Liggett, Ph.D., to head the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Institute of Genome Sciences – a new research enterprise dedicated to the application of genome sciences for the advancement of human health. This new institute will be located at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) BioPark, a biomedical research park on UMB’s expanding campus.
Dr. Fraser-Liggett comes to the School of Medicine from The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) in Rockville, MD, where she has served as president and director since 1998. During her tenure at TIGR, federal funding to the organization tripled to $60 million per year.
At TIGR, Dr. Fraser-Liggett led research teams that sequenced the genomes of many microbial organisms and helped to initiate the era of comparative genomics. She has been the most highly cited scientist in the field of microbiology for the past 10 years.
"Dr. Fraser-Liggett is a true pioneer in the effort to sequence and analyze the genomes of a large number of organisms, and we are thrilled to have her world-class expertise at the University of Maryland," says E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., Vice President for Medical Affairs, University of Maryland and Dean of the School of Medicine.
"Dr. Fraser-Liggett is expected to bring a team of scientists and staff members with her. This major recruitment initiative will fuel the expansion of genomic research at the School of Medicine," Reece added.
Dr. Fraser-Liggett 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 work also includes the study of influenza and other viruses. These studies have provided a strong foundation for the development of new diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.
At the University of Maryland, Dr. Fraser-Liggett will build on her impressive body of work while collaborating with physician-scientists in an environment that fosters translational medicine.
"One of the most important challenges over the next two decades will be integrating new insights from the past 10 years of genomics studies into the clinical environment to impact human health," says Dr. Fraser-Liggett. "There is no better place to be working toward these goals than in a large academic medical center like the University of Maryland School of Medicine."