Founder and Chairman
Stephen P.A. Fodor is a native of Seattle, Washington. He received his B.S. in Biology and M.S. in Biochemistry from Washington State University and his Ph.D. in Chemistry at Princeton University. From 1986 to 1989, he was a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at The University of California, Berkeley, working on time-resolved spectroscopy of bacterial and plant pigments. In 1989 he was recruited to the Affymax Research Institute in Palo Alto where he spearheaded the effort to develop high-density arrays of biological compounds. Of the techniques developed, one approach permitted high-resolution chemical synthesis in a light-directed, spatially defined format.
Dr. Fodor and colleagues were the first to develop and describe microarray technologies and combinatorial chemistry synthesis. These methods have been applied to construct high-density arrays of peptides and oligonucleotides on small glass substrates (chips). These arrays enable hundreds of thousands of assays to be carried out and detected in a rapid parallel format. Seminal manuscripts describing this work have been published in Science, Nature, and PNAS.
Dr. Fodor's group also developed techniques to read these arrays, employing fluorescent labeling methods and confocal laser scanning to measure each individual binding event on the surface of the chip with extraordinary sensitivity and precision. This general platform of microarray-based analysis coupled with confocal laser scanning has become the standard in industry and academics for large-scale genomics studies.
In 1993, Dr. Fodor co-founded Affymetrix, where the chip technology has been used to synthesize many varieties of high-density oligonucleotide arrays containing hundreds of thousands of DNA probes. These DNA chips have broad commercial applications and are now used in many areas of basic and clinical research, including the detection of drug resistance mutations in infectious organisms, direct DNA sequence comparison of large segments of the human genome, the monitoring of multiple human genes for cancer associated mutations, the quantitative and parallel measurement of mRNA expression for thousands of human genes, and the physical and genetic mapping of the human genome.
In 1992, Dr. Fodor and colleagues were recognized by the AAAS by receiving the Newcomb-Cleveland Award for an outstanding paper published in Science. He has received various honors and awards, including the Washington State University Distinguished Alumni Award, the Intellectual Property Owner's Distinguished Inventor of the Year Award, the Chiron Corporation Biotechnology Research Award, The Association for Laboratory Automation Achievement Award, the Jacob Heskel Gabbay Award in Biotechnology and Medicine, The Takeda Foundation Award, and The Economist Innovation Award for Nanotechnology. Dr. Fodor serves on the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Institute of Science, serves on a variety of scientific advisory boards, and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.