Michael Heller


University of California, San Diego

Michael Heller

Michael J. Heller received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Colorado State University in 1973. He was an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow at Northwestern University from 1973 to 1976. Dr. Heller was supervisor of the DNA Technology Group at Amoco Corporation (Standard Oil Indiana) from 1976 to 1984. During that time, he carried out very early bioengineering and recombinant DNA work on plants, algae and photosynthetic bacteria for energy and chemical production. He also development the first fluorescent resonant energy transfer (FRET) and chemiluminescent DNA oligonucleotide probes. Additionally, he oversaw the company sponsored research work at Cetus Corporation on their related recombinant DNA efforts for energy and chemical production, which included the cloning of thermophilic enzymes. Dr. Heller was the Director of Molecular Biology at Molecular Biosystems, Inc., from 1984 to 1987.  He was a co-founder of Integrated DNA Technologies, and served as President and Chief Operating Officer from 1987 to 1989.  He was a co-found of Nanotronics and Nanogen, and served as the Chief Technical Officer from 1993 to 2001. Nanogen carried out the successful development and commercialization of electronic DNA microarray technology for molecular diagnostic genotyping applications. Dr. Heller is now a Professor in the Departments of Nanoengineering and Bioengineering at the University California San Diego. He has also recently co-founded a new company called Biological Dynamics which will be developing new sample to answer cancer diagnostic technology, which is based on novel dielectrophoretic (DEP) microarray technology developed in his lab. Dr. Heller has extensive industrial experience in biotechnology, biomedical and molecular diagnostic devices and nanotechnology; with particular expertise in the areas of DNA probe diagnostics, DC electrophoretic and AC dielectrophoretic devices, DNA synthesis, FRET/fluorescent-based detection technologies and electric field assisted self-assembly of DNA nanocomponents. Dr. Heller has a respectable publication record, and has been an invited speaker to many scientific conferences and meetings related clinical/molecular diagnostics, DNA microarrays, biosensors, lab-on-a-chip devices, bio-MEMS and nanotechnology. He has over 50 issued US patents related to microelectronic chips, microarrays and integrated devices for DNA hybridization, miniaturized sample to answer diagnostic devices, biosensors, genomics, proteomics, nanotechnology and nanofabrication, nano-based DNA optical storage and for fluorescent energy transfer in DNA nanostructures. Dr. Heller has been a panel member for the White House (OSTP) National Nanotechnology Initiative 1999/2000; the NAS (NAE) Review of National Nanotechnology Initiative 2001-2002; the NAS(NAE) – Engineer for the 2020 – 2001/2002; and has also been involved in a number of NSF Nanotechnology Workshops.

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Oncology Biomarkers