Quake’s research is at the nexus of biology, physics, and technology development. He has invented many measurement tools for biology, including new DNA sequencing technologies that have enabled rapid analysis of the human genome, and microfluidic automation that allows scientists to efficiently isolate individual cells and decipher their genetic code. Quake is also well known for his work inventing new diagnostic tools, including the first noninvasive prenatal test for Down syndrome and other aneuploidies. His test is rapidly replacing risky invasive approaches such as amniocentesis, and millions of women each year now benefit from this approach. His innovations have helped to radically accelerate the pace of biology and have made medicine safer by replacing invasive biopsies with simple blood tests.
Quake is the Lee Otterson Professor of Bioengineering and professor of applied physics at Stanford University. He has received numerous awards for his discoveries and has been elected to several scientific honorary societies, including the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Medicine, and the National Academy of Inventors. He received a B.S. in physics and M.S. in mathematics from Stanford University in 1991 and a doctorate in theoretical physics from the University of Oxford in 1994. He began his faculty career at the California Institute of Technology in 1996, where he rose through the ranks to become professor of applied physics and physics. He joined Stanford in 2005 to help found and lead Stanford’s new bioengineering department as it grew to nearly two dozen faculty members. He was also an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute from 2006 to 2016.