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Graduate Student Profile
Keith Fraser
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Keith Fraser

Hometown: Georgetown, Guyana
Prior Study: St. John’s University, B.S. (2006), M.S. (2010)
Degree(s) Sought: Ph.D. Biology
Department: Biology
Faculty Advisor: Christopher Bystroff and Jonathan S. Dordick
Expected year of graduation: 2016

Keith has prior teaching experience and aspires to be a faculty member in an interdisciplinary bioengineering department. His current research combines computational biology and biophysical tools for the development of biosensors that can be tailored to scree targets such as small molecule and pathogens. It is an excellent example of the type of interdisciplinary research that takes place at Rensselaer.

Describe your graduate research and its purpose/applications.

The focus of my research is to study the folding pathway of the green fluorescent protein (GFP, a naturally occurring molecule that has intrinsic florescence) and the extent to which it can be modulated. We intend to utilize the information obtained from this study to design biosensor that can be used in small molecule and pathogen detection. The study and engineering of these molecules involves a combination of computational biology and biophysical tools.

What are your hobbies/interests/special talents?

My hobbies are primarily playing sports (basketball and soccer) and reading. In addition to taking part in student organizations (CBIS-GSA) I also engage in volunteer activities (prior to enrolling at RPI I was a volunteer at New York Hospital Queens, in Queens New York).

Why did you choose to enroll at Rensselaer?

I choose to enroll at Rensselaer because of the appeal of the rich interdisciplinary nature of the research being conducted on campus. The strong collaborative research environment and the availability of necessary resources to conduct cutting edge experiments also contributed to my decision.

What are some benefits of being part of the Graduate Community at Rensselaer?

In addition to the collaborative environment enjoyed between graduate students there are also opportunities to get involved in graduate student organizations (Graduate Council, CBIS-GSA).

What would you tell a prospective student about choosing Rensselaer?

There are a number of world class professors here who do fantastic work. In addition to the strong research environment, the graduate community here is one that you would enjoy. The administration at RPI is focused on your success and will provide you will every opportunity to maximize you potential to succeed.

List Information about your background and accomplishments in College and Work Experience:  

I was a teaching assistant whose role was to run the laboratory section of introductory biology and cell biology courses. In addition to mentoring undergraduate researchers in the lab I am also the Treasure of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Association (CBIS-GSA). The CBIS-GSA is a student run society whose aim is to create support networks and learning opportunities for postdoctoral researchers and graduate students involved in biotechnology.

What are your plans following graduation?

I plan to pursue an academic career as a faculty member in an interdisciplinary bioengineering department.

Awards/Fellowships:

  • Rensselaer Research Assistantship (2012)
  • Rensselaer Graduate Student Professional Meeting Travel Award
  • Rensselaer Graduate Teaching Assistantship (2011)



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