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University of Maryland School of Medicine's Claire Fraser-Liggett, PhD, Elected to the Institute of Medicine

Monday, October 17, 2011

 Dr. Claire Fraser-Liggett has been honored by the Institute of Medicine.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies has announced that Claire Fraser-Liggett, PhD, the Director of the Institute for Genome Sciences (IGS), and a faculty member in the Departments of Medicine and Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, is one of 65 new members and five foreign associates named to its membership this year.

Election to the IOM is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service. New members are elected by current active members through a highly selective process that recognizes individuals who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care and public health.

Dr. Fraser-Liggett is a world-renowned scientist who - through her pioneering research, her extensive peer-reviewed scientific publications, and her leadership of several preeminent research institutions - has contributed significantly to the development of scientific progress in genomic medicine.

Over the past 16 years, Dr. Fraser-Liggett’s research team has applied large-scale DNA sequencing and analysis to the study of the microbial world and how it impacts human health. With the groundbreaking 1995 publication of the first complete genome sequence of a free-living organism, the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae, she and her team launched the field of microbial genomics, creating a paradigm shift in the study of microorganisms, and laying the foundation for new approaches to personalized medicine. Today, she is one of the most highly cited investigators in the field of microbial genomics. The completion of more than 1,000 microbial genome sequences today is a direct result of her team’s pioneering work in the development of new experimental and computational approaches to analyzing large quantities of genetic information.

“It is a great pleasure to welcome Dr. Fraser-Liggett to the Institute of Medicine,” says E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., vice president for medical affairs at the University of Maryland and dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “This membership is recognition of Claire’s impressive body of research and her overall contributions to science and biomedicine, which are many. It’s also an affirmation of the growing recognition of the potential of genomics to improve human health. Since we launched the Institute for Genome Sciences here on our campus in 2007, it has had a positive impact on countless peoples’ lives worldwide.”

“It is a tremendous honor to be elected a member of The Institute of Medicine. I look forward to contributing to my new colleagues’ efforts to aid those in government and the private sector in dealing with our most pressing health care issues,” says Dr. Fraser-Liggett. “IOM’s inclusion of genomic scientists demonstrates how integral this new interdisciplinary and innovative field has become to making breakthroughs in medical treatments and to developing new approaches to address the important biomedical challenges facing our nation.”

About IGS

The Institute for Genome Sciences (IGS) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine is an international research center dedicated to advancing the use of genomics to improve healthcare. Led by Dr. Claire Fraser-Liggett, a preeminent genome scientist and microbiologist, IGS is located on the University of Maryland Baltimore’s campus.  IGS scientists integrate genomics, bioinformatics and metagenomics into biomedical research.  For more information, see www.igs.umaryland.edu

About IOM

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) is one of the institutes of the National Academies. It is unique in its structure as both an honorific membership organization and an advisory organization. Established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, IOM has become recognized as a national resource for independent, scientifically informed analysis and recommendations on health issues. For more information, see www.iom.edu.

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