Malcolm Fraser Jr.
Rev. Julius A. Nieuwland, C.S.C., Professor of Biological Sciences
Dr. Fraser’s research merges Molecular Virology and Transgenic Engineering with the goals of advancing applications that improve the human condition. Dr. Fraser is responsible for the discovery and development of the piggyBac transposon, which has emerged as the most versatile transposon vector for transgenic engineering of eukaryotic organisms. PiggyBac has found utility in mammalian genetic engineering including mouse, rat and porcine animal models, as well as human cells. Most recently, piggyBac has been used in the establishment and differentiation of induced pluripotent stem cells, an important and viable alternative to embryonic stem cells.
In 2005 Dr. Fraser was the recipient of a prestigious Grand Challenges in Global Health research grant award from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support the development of novel antiviral intervention tools for combating Dengue Fever virus. This work has continued with a grant from the National Institutes of Health, and has expanded to include similar strategies for Chikungunya virus, Hepatitis C, and HIV.
Dr. Fraser also pursues commercialization of his research through seven awarded and three pending patents, and the development of technological breakthroughs including transgenic engineering of the silkworm, Bombyx mori, to produce important protein products including recombinant spider silks.
Dr. Fraser has been elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Royal Entomological Society of London, the Entomological Society of America, and the American Academy of Microbiology.
This professorship memorializes Father Julius Nieuwland, who directed Notre Dame’s organic chemistry research program in the 1920s. His formulae led to the discovery of neoprene, a synthetic rubber, by E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. Nieuwland used his consulting fees from DuPont to improve the chemistry library. Subsequent royalties helped to fund the construction of the Nieuwland Science Building in 1952.