World in a Cell


Scott Fraser

Provost Professor,
Director of Science Initiatives,
University of Southern California

Portrait photo: Scott Fraser

Professor Scott E. Fraser has a long-standing commitment to quantitative biology, applying the tools of chemistry, engineering, and physics to problems in biology and medicine. His personal research centers on imaging and molecular analyses of intact biological systems. The work of Dr. Fraser’s laboratory has resulted in a set of publications (over two hundred) and patents (more than five dozen), spanning fields as diverse as synthetic chemistry and nanotechnology to developmental biology and novel microscopy. Dr. Fraser’s experience in interdisciplinary work has resulted in collaboration between diverse groups of researchers.

Fraser considers the hegemony of reductive thinking (Occam’s Razor) prevents people from thinking broadly and asking broad questions in science and academia, preferring to use diverse collaboration as a strategy towards more holistic thinking.

The situation now is more often showing stories [that] capture some small part of the reality.

“[The methods] that exist are good for investigating linear processes but bad at investigating distributed, weakly coupled processes.”

“The metaphor we use then is the analogy of a trying to understand a football game… taking a bad T.V. movie of football, you might still not understand it but you'd get closer.”