Stephen Quake, PhD, professor of bioengineering and of applied physics at Stanford University and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has received the 2013 Nakasone Award from the Human Frontier Science Program Organization (HFSPO) for “prolific inventions that have advanced biological measurement techniques.”
Drawing upon his background in applied physics, Quake has introduced new large-scale quantitative approaches in many areas of biology that were previously impossible to address. His innovations include a rapid DNA sequencer, a non-invasive prenatal test for Down syndrome and the biological equivalent of the integrated circuit. He is holder of more than 80 patents, has founded at least four companies based on his conceptions and has invented technologies that have transformed science and medicine in fields ranging from genomic sequencing and microfluidics to infectious disease and medical diagnostics.
In addition to a $10,000 research grant and a gold medal, Quake will give the HFSP Nakasone Lecture at the annual meeting of HFSP awardees to be held in Strasbourg, France in July 2013.
Stephen Quake is a pioneer in the relatively young discipline of bioengineering, which seeks to fuse engineering and life sciences to promote scientific discovery and the development of new technologies and therapies in human health and environmental sustainability. Stanford’s Department of Bioengineering is a collaboration of the School of Engineering and the School of Medicine. Established in 2003, it is the university’s newest department.
The HFSPO, based in Strasbourg, initiated the Nakasone Award in honor of Yasuhiro Nakasone, Japan’s prime minister from 1982 through 1987, who was instrumental in the HFSPO’s creation in 1989. The organization has since supported approximately 5,500 life scientists from 65 countries, 18 of whom have gone on to win a Nobel Prize.
Andrew Myers is associate director of communications for the Stanford University School of Engineering.