Cassandra L. Fraser is interested in designing matter from scientific, cultural, and pedagogical angles. Her scientific research is concerned with metal-containing biomaterials—their synthesis, responsive properties, and nanoscale assemblies—with an emphasis on the biological/synthetic interface, materials for medicine, and sustainability.
At Radcliffe, Fraser will explore the properties and uses of polymeric metal complexes with collaborators in the materials science and chemistry departments at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. To inform her research and prepare for future projects, she will undertake more intensive study of metals in medicine and the environment. Additionally, she will begin a writing project about an interdisciplinary learning experiment she led at the University of Virginia that considered scientific, cultural, and artistic perspectives on the design process and matter life cycle from subatomic to cosmic perspectives.
Fraser received a BA from Kalamazoo College, where she studied chemistry and devised her own cross-disciplinary major. She earned a master’s degree in theological studies from Harvard Divinity School and a PhD in chemistry from the University of Chicago. Fraser received a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellowship for research at the California Institute of Technology with Robert H. Grubbs, a 2005 Nobel laureate in chemistry. In 1995, she joined the faculty at the University of Virginia, where she is a professor of chemistry and was recently honored as the Cavaliers’ Distinguished Teaching Professor. Fraser has received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, along with young professor awards from Dupont and 3M.