Adam Heller Named 2015 ECS Europe Section Heinz Gerischer Award Winner

Dr. Adam Heller

Adam Heller, Texas ChE research professor, will be awarded the 2015 ECS Europe Section Heinz Gerischer Award at the 228th Electrochemical Society (ECS) Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona October 2015.

Heller’s work in electrochemical engineering has touched the lives of people across the globe. As the inventor of the painless diabetes blood monitor, his developments in healthcare have had an enormous societal and economic impact. Heller’s work spans a range of technologies, touching areas related to battery and energy—including solar cells, the lithium battery, and photoelectrocatalysis.

Heller’s innovation and research has touch impacted both industry and academia. He began his career with such notable companies as GTE Laboratories and Bell Laboratories, where he headed the Electronic Materials Research Department. He transitioned into academia soon after when he joined the staff at The University of Texas at Austin. During this time, Heller co-found what would be one of his most significant contributions to science—the painless blood glucose monitoring system.

It began in 1996 when Heller and his son Ephraim Heller founded TheraSense, which has transitioned to become a major part of Abbott Diabetes Care of Alameda, CA. Here, the FreeStyle™ system of TheraSense was developed, which made the monitoring of blood glucose painless by accurately monitoring the glucose concentration in just 300 nanoliters of blood.

Heller also established the field of the electrical wiring of enzymes (1988-2005), the electrical connection of their catalytic redox centers to electrodes and built with wired enzymes subcutaneously implanted miniature glucose sensors, which became the core technology of the 2008 FreeStyle Navigator™ and of the 2014 FreeStyle Libre™. This continuous glucose monitoring system of Abbott Diabetes Care intended to replace the 16 billion annually performed blood-requiring strip assays. Its disposable part is factory calibrated, requires no blood samples and operates for two weeks.

Aside from this development, Heller’s research also resulted in the first paper on the lithium thionyl chloride battery, which would be used in implanted medical and defense systems that required a shelf life of greater than 20 years or a higher than average energy density. Additionally, his early work in solar resulted in 11.5% efficient solar cells in 1980 and in 11 % efficient hydrogen evolving photoelectrodes in 1981. These achievements and many others earned him the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2008.

About ECS Europe Section Heinz Gerischer Award
The Heinz Gerischer Award of the Europe Section of The Electrochemical Society has been founded by the friends of the late Prof. Gerischer (1919-1994) in order to honor his immense contributions to the science of semiconductor electrochemistry, photoelectrochemistry, and to that of physical and materials chemistry in general. In addition, this award is intended to recognize the scientific leadership of Prof. Gerischer and his tireless efforts to promote scientific collaboration in post WWII Europe. The establishment of the prize was supported by a generous contribution from the family of the late Prof. Heinz and Dr. Renate Gerischer.

About ECS
Leading the world in electrochemistry and solid-state science and technology for more than 112 years, The Electrochemical Society was founded in 1902 as an international nonprofit, educational organization. ECS now has more than 9,000 individual and institutional members in more than 75 countries. Home of the Journal of The Electrochemical Society—the oldest peer-reviewed journal in its field—ECS technical content is published in the ECS Digital Library, a searchable online collection of ECS technical journals and other publications.

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