Stephen Quake, is a professor of bioengineering and applied physics at Stanford University where he studies microfluidic large-scale integration. The prodigious professor’s work has thus far led to the creation of four companies and 82 patents.
Dr. Quake used the principles of an integrated circuit to develop a ‘biochip’ that can perform nearly 10,000 independent simultaneous measurements – orders of magnitude above and beyond pipetting scientists in the lab. The chip is already being used to perform basic research and to discover new drugs. For his ingenuity, the chip’s inventor was recently awarded the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT prize for exceptional innovators.
He co-founded San Francisco-based Fluidigm Corp in 1999 to sell the chip. Labs are already using the chip to grow proteins into the crystalline arrangements necessary for studying protein structure. The structures for both the Ebola virus and the H5N1 Influenza virus were solved using the chip.