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Steve Fodor, PhD

2005 Edwin F. Ullman Award

Stephen P.A. Fodor, PhD, is chairman and chief executive officer of Affymetrix in Santa Clara, California.

In 1989, he joined the Affymax Research Institute in Palo Alto, where he spearheaded the effort to develop high-density arrays of biological compounds. Dr. Fodor and his 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 millions of assays to be carried out in a rapid parallel format. Dr. Fodor’s group also developed sensitive techniques to read these arrays, using fluorescent labeling methods and confocal laser scanning. This platform of microarray-based analysis coupled to 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 displaying hundreds of thousands of DNA probes. These DNA chips are 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 comparison of mRNA expression for thousands of human genes, and the physical and genetic mapping of the human genome.

In 2000, Dr. Fodor founded Perlegen, a new venture that applies the chip technology to uncover the basic patterns of human diversity.