Stanford professor wins $500K MIT invention prize

Jun 04, 2012

(AP) — A Stanford University professor has won a $500,000 award from a Massachusetts Institute of Technology program in recognition of his inventions.

In awarding the 2012 Lemelson-MIT Prize, university officials on Monday called Stephen Quake "a prolific inventor with a fearless ability to explore and work across disciplines."

Quake invented a chip, similar to those in electronic devices, that lets scientists take nearly 10,000 different measurements at once. Through his work, called microfluidic large-scale integration, companies and research organizations are able to use the rubber chip technology in developing cancer drugs.

MIT officials said on the school's website that Quake's research has led to the creation of four companies and 82 patents.

The 43-year-old professor of bioengineering and applied physics also created a noninvasive prenatal testing method for detecting Down syndrome.

Stanford University officials said in a prepared statement that Quake is using a similar approach to provide tests that can show earlier and more easily whether an organ transplant recipient is rejecting an organ donation.

Quake said Monday he was "incredibly excited and humbled" by the prize.

"Hopefully, it will give me a little more credibility with the investment community as we try to commercialize our inventions," the professor told The Associated Press.

Inventor Jerome H. Lemelson and his wife founded the Lemelson-MIT Program at the university in 1994. MIT said the award Quake won is known as the "Oscar for inventors" and recognizes people who translate ideas into innovations that improve the world.

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