Cassandra Fraser headshot

Cassandra Fraser

Professor of Chemistry

I am a material chemist and more who has learned over the years the benefits of investigating issues collaboratively, from multiple perspectives. I am a systems thinker interested in the patterns, tendencies and meaning that present themselves and are there to be discovered with patience, persistence and careful, quiet attention. My scientific research involves environment-sensitive and stimuli-responsive luminescent biomaterials for imaging, sensing and detection in biology, medicine and more. I have taught core chemistry courses, along with numerous innovative interdisciplinary programs that draw upon my background in the sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities, and my overall synthetic approach. Increasingly, I try to run my classes like research teams, recognizing and guiding my students as investigators and collaborators. My new work is concerned with real world chemistry and multimedia storytelling. Environmental health and justice figure prominently, along with documentary and experimental arts and design. My goal is to better integrate research, teaching, creative and social practice, and to experiment with new ways of working together across disciplines, communities and cultures. Presently I am designing a new kind of transdisciplinary media lab for this work.

We live in a time of great urgency, when our individual choices and collective actions have significant consequences. From climate change and sustainability to clean air, food and water, from pandemics and mass extinction to medicines, toxins, the opioid crisis and more, elements, molecules and materials figure prominently. I am eager to join forces with others, especially students, to learn and share knowledge, experiences and perspectives, to consider possibilities, pursue opportunities, and bring what we have to bear on the pressing and ever-evolving issues of the day.