Dr. Fraser's research interests are broadly in the area of computational biology and how in silico models can be developed to advance our understanding of a range of biochemical mechanisms.
Ph.D. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - Biology
M.S. St. John's University - Biology
B.S. St. John's University - Biology
My research interests broadly encompass the areas of biochemistry, biophysics, and computational biology. As a part of my work, I develop in silico models to deepen our understanding of various molecular mechanisms. There are several active areas of work:
a) Structure-Function Relationships: Much of our work in this area involves predicting how mutations impact the folded structure and function of various proteins. Thus far, we have engineered proteins with expanded functionality in aqueous environments and on nanomaterials. This work has led to the creation of new biosensors and decontamination modalities. Furthermore, we've made significant advancements in understanding the protein-receptor interactions involved in the SARS-CoV2 infection mechanism, enabling us to identify suramin and polysulfated polysaccharides as potential antivirals. These could be employed to mitigate the spread of this viral pathogen. Lastly, we've devised a method to create dual-use DNA nanostructures that can function as a diagnostic tool for or inhibit viral pathogens.
b) Drug Toxicity: We are particularly interested in studying the effects of orally administered pharmaceuticals on major organs in the body, as well as the gut microbiota. Accordingly, we have been leveraging available in vitro data related to the biochemical functions of pharmaceuticals across chemical and therapeutic classes to develop predictive models of organ toxicity. Another area of interest is investigating the influence of these pharmaceuticals on microbial function and distribution within the gut microbiota, and how it affects overall health.
c) Single Cell Transcriptomics: Given the wealth of publicly available single cell RNA-seq data, we are concentrating our efforts on utilizing these resources to develop methods that improve our understanding of disease etiology. We are currently investigating diseases such as frontotemporal dementia (FTD), Alzheimer’s disease, and SARS-CoV2 infections. In order to aid the broader scientific community, we have developed a web app that enhances data exploration and facilitates hypothesis generation.
BCBP/BIOL/CHEM 4760 - Molecular Biochemistry I (Summer)
This course is the first of a two-semester sequence of molecular biochemistry. Here we will focus on the chemistry, structure, and function of biological molecules, macromolecules, and systems. Topics that will be covered include protein and nucleic acid structure, enzymology, mechanisms of catalysis, regulation, lipids and membranes, carbohydrates, bioenergetic, and carbohydrate metabolism.
BCBP/BIOL/CHEM 4770 - Molecular Biochemistry II (Spring)
This course is the second semester of the molecular biochemistry sequence. Here we expand from the focus on the chemistry, structure and function of biological molecules and systems and perform an in-depth analysis of the metabolism of biological molecules. Topics covered include lipids and lipid metabolism, amino acid metabolism and the coenzymes involved in this metabolism, nucleic acid synthesis and chemistry, protein synthesis and degradation, integration of metabolism, photobiology and photosynthesis.
BIOL 4540/6410 - Sequence Analysis (Fall)
Enrollment in this course exposes students to a broad range of bioinformatic methods used to nucleic acid and protein sequences. Here students learn how to study the evolutionary relationship between biological sequences across species, and how to predict the structure of novel sequences when characterizing structure function relationships. Given that cells respond to the spectrum of stimuli they receive through dynamic regulation of genes, students will also use techniques that model state changes in the epigenome, transcriptome, proteome and metabolome.
BIOL 4940/6690 - Molecular Biology II / Advanced Molecular Biology (Fall)
In this course students explore in depth a plethora of molecular mechanisms and the role they play in molecular immunology, genetic diseases as well as infectious diseases. Additionally, students explore how molecular techniques can be used to develop diagnostic tools as well as synthetic cellular systems.
BCBP 4310/6310 - Genetic Engineering
In this course, students will explore the molecular methods and applications of recombinant DNA technology and the issues regarding their use through case studies on the effect of genetic engineering in medicine, agriculture, biology, forensics, and various other areas of technology. The course has three major components: 1) techniques used in the generation of recombinant molecules, 2) application of recombinant technology to diagnostics and therapeutics and 3) genetically modified organisms.
BIOL 2125 - Intro to Cell and Molecular Biology Lab (Fall & Spring)
The goal of this course is to gain practical experience in cellular and molecular biology through
exposure to experimental techniques and equipment.
The following is a selection of recent publications in Scopus. Keith Fraser has 14 indexed publications in the subjects of Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology, Materials Science, Chemistry.