Heller, Adam Ph.D.

Professor EmeritusHeller, Adam
Ernest Cockrell Senior Chair in Engineering Emeritus

Email: heller@che.utexas.edu

Research Areas: Materials

Educational Qualifications

Ph.D., Chemistry, Hebrew University (1961)
M.Sc., Chemistry and Physics, Hebrew University (1957)


Glucose monitoring for diabetes management; Management of diseases, particularly Parkinson’s disease, by continuous delivery of drugs in the mouth

Biographical Information

Adam Heller received his Ph.D. from Hebrew University in 1961 where he studied under Ernst David Bergmann. He worked at GTE Laboratories in Bayside, NY and in Waltham, MA (1964-1975), then at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, NJ (1975-1988), headings its Electronic Materials Research Department (1977-1988) where a team headed by King L. Tai developed key  parts of the high speed, high density chip-to-chip interconnect technology of mobile electronic systems.  While a professor of engineering at The University of Texas at Austin (1988-to date)  he co-founded with his son Ephraim Heller in 1996 TheraSense, now Abbott Diabetes Care and was the first Chief Technical Officer of the company. There they created in 2000 the now world-wide available painless blood glucose monitor FreeStyleTM; unlike others, it requires only 300 nL blood, 1/8th of the average volume of a mosquito blood meal. In 2015 Consumer Reports top rated FreeStyleTM.  TheraSense was acquired in 2004 by Abbott Laboratories and is now the core of Abbott Diabetes Care. After making glucose monitoring painless, Heller and his colleagues at Abbott Diabetes Care made it bloodless. The bloodless FreeStyle LibreTM system of Abbott Diabetes Care was introduced in Europe in 2014. Unlike earlier continuous glucose monitors it no longer requires the use of blood samples and strips for periodic calibration. It is replacing blood-requiring single-use strips. It is based on Heller’s electrical wiring of glucose oxidase. It consists of a dollar-coin sized skin-patch comprising the sensor and a short range transmitter, painlessly self-replaced every 14 days; and a cellphone-sized scanner-reader. When it is swiped over the skin-patch it displays the instantaneous glycemia, its trend and the glycemia of the past 8-hours. At the age of 82 Heller is the CSO of SynAgile Corp, also cofounded with his son Ephraim Heller, working on a miniature, non-intrusive, continuously orally L-DOPA infusing system for managing advanced Parkinson’s disease.

As of April 2020, Heller and his co-inventors’ patents and publications have been cited according to Google Scholar citations 119,387 times and their h-index is 168.


National Medal of Technology and Innovation (2007)
Fresenius Gold Medal and Prize, German Chemical Society (2005)
Spiers Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry, UK (2000)
Faraday Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry, UK (1996)
Vittorio De Nora Gold Medal of The Electrochemical Society (1988)

Awards & Honors

No. 142 on Wikipedia’s world List of Prolific Inventors (2020)
Honorable Member Israel Chemical Society (2019)
78th Honorary Member of The Electrochemical Society (2015)
Heinz Gerischer Prize of the European Section of The Electrochemical Society (2015)
Service to Society Award of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (2014)
Torbern Bergman Medal of the Swedish Chemical Society (shared with Allen J. Bard, 2014)
Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2009)
Award for Creative Invention, American Chemical Society (2008)
Hocott Distinguished Engineering Award, The University of Texas at Austin (2005)
AICHE Award in Chemical Engineering Practice (2005)
Charles N. Reilly Award of the Society of Electroanalytical Chemistry (2004)
Chemistry of Materials, American Chemical Society (1994)
David C. Grahame Physical Electrochemistry Award, The Electrochemical Society (1987)
Elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (1987)
Guest Professor of the Collège de France (1982)
Battery Research Award, The Electrochemical Society (1978)


Elected Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2009)
Institute Lecturer, American Institute of Chemical Engineers (2004)
Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (1996)
Elected Fellow, The Electrochemical Society (1994)
Elected to the U. S. National Academy of Engineering (1987)

Honorary Degrees

Doctor, Honoris Causa, City University of New York (Queens College) (2008)
Doctor, Honoris Causa, Uppsala University, Sweden (1991)

Recent Publications

  • Heller, A., and Coffman, S. S. (2019) Crystals in the Substantia Nigra. ACS Chem Neurosci 10.1021/acschemneuro.9b00318
  • Warren Olanow, C., Torti, M., Kieburtz, K., Leinonen, M., Vacca, L., Grassini, P., Heller, A., Heller, E., and Stocchi, F. (2019) Continuous versus intermittent oral administration of levodopa in Parkinson’s disease patients with motor fluctuations: A pharmacokinetics, safety, and efficacy study. Mov Disord 34, 425-429
  • Heller, A., Coffman, S. S., and Friedman, K. A. (2019) Obesity-Dependent Accumulation of Titanium in the Pancreas of Type 2 Diabetic Donors. Chem Res Toxicol doi: 10.1021/acs.chemrestox.8b00304.
  • Heller, A., Jarvis, K., and Coffman, S. S. (2018) Association of Type 2 Diabetes with Submicron Titanium Dioxide Crystals in the Pancreas. Chem Res Toxicol 31, 506-509.
  • Sun, H. H., Hwang, J. Y., Yoon, C. S., Heller, A., and Mullins, C. B. (2018) Capacity Degradation Mechanism and Cycling Stability Enhancement of AlF3-Coated Nanorod Gradient Na[Ni0.65Co0.08Mn0.27]O2 Cathode for Sodium-Ion Batteries. ACS Nano 12, 12912-12922.
  • Youn DH, et al. (2018) Simple Microwave‐Assisted Synthesis of Delafossite CuFeO2 as an Anode Material for Sodium‐Ion Batteries. ChemElectroChem.
  • Heller A (2018) Searching for new truths of nature and creating people-serving products through bio-electrochemistry: The brain interface. Current Opinion in Electrochemistry.
  • Youn DH, Park H, Loeffler KE, Kim JH, Heller A & Mullins CB (2018). Enhanced Electrochemical Performance of a Tin− antimony Alloy/N‐Doped Carbon Nanocomposite as a Sodium‐Ion Battery Anode. ChemElectroChem. 5 (2):391-396
  • Lin J, et al. (2017).  Self-Assembled Cu–Sn–S Nanotubes with High (De) Lithiation Performance. ACS nano. 11 (10):10347-10356
  • Rodriguez R, et al. (2017). In situ optical imaging of sodium electrodeposition: effects of fluoroethylene carbonate. ACS Energy Letters. 2 (9):2051-2057.
  • Xiao H, et al. (2017) Reduced-Graphene Oxide/Poly (acrylic acid) Aerogels as a Three-Dimensional Replacement for Metal-Foil Current Collectors in Lithium-Ion Batteries. ACS applied materials & interfaces. 9 (27):22641-22651.
  • Youn DH, et al. (2016) Simple synthesis of nanocrystalline tin sulfide/N-doped reduced graphene oxide composites as lithium ion battery anodes. ACS nano. 10 (12):10778-10788.
  • Youn DH, et al. (2016) Facile synthesis of Ge/N-doped carbon spheres with varying nitrogen content for lithium ion battery anodes. ACS applied materials & interfaces. 8 (41):27788-27794.
  • Wood SM, et al. (2016) K+ Reduces Lithium Dendrite Growth by Forming a Thin, Less-Resistive Solid Electrolyte Interphase. ACS Energy Letters. 1 (2): 414-419.
  • Youn DH, Heller A & Mullins CB. (2016) Simple synthesis of nanostructured Sn/nitrogen-doped carbon composite using nitrilotriacetic acid as lithium ion battery anode. Chemistry of Materials. 28 (5):1343-1347.
  • Eisenberg D, et al. (2016). A Simple Synthesis of an N‐Doped Carbon ORR Catalyst: Hierarchical Micro/Meso/Macro Porosity and Graphitic Shells. Chemistry–A European Journal. 22 (2):501-505.
  • Wood SM, Pham CH, Heller A, & Mullins CB (2016) Formation of an Electroactive Polymer Gel Film upon Lithiation and Delithiation of PbSe. J. Electrochem. Soc. 163:A1666-A1671.
  • Wood SM, Pham CH, Heller A, & Mullins CB (2016) Communication-Stages in the Dynamic Electrochemical Lithiation of Lead. J. Electrochem. Soc. 163:A1027-A1029.
  • Wood SM, et al. (2016) K+ Reduces Lithium Dendrite Growth by Forming a Thin, Less-Resistive Solid Electrolyte Interphase. ACS Energy Lett. 1:414-419.
  • Youn DH, Heller A, & Mullins CB (2016) Simple Synthesis of Nanostructured Sn/Nitrogen-Doped Carbon Composite Using Nitrilotriacetic Acid as Lithium Ion Battery Anode. Chem. Mater. 28:1343-1347.
  • Youn DH, et al. (2016) Mixing Super P-Li with N-Doped Mesoporous Templated Carbon Improves the High Rate Performance of a Potential Lithium Ion Battery Anode. J. Electrochem. Soc. 163:A953-A957.

View complete list of Heller’s patents and publications.

Posted on: