Introducing Editorial Board member David Walt

The fifth Introducing series post is all about new Editorial Board member David Walt. We’re very pleased to welcome David to the board and here he introduces his background and research vision:

David R. Walt is Robinson Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Professor of Genetics, and Professor of Oral Medicine at Tufts University and is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor.  Dr. Walt is the Founding Scientist of Illumina, Inc. and has been a Director and Chairman of its Scientific Advisory Board since 1998. Dr. Walt is also the Founding Scientist of Quanterix Corporation and has been a Director and Chairman of its Scientific Advisory Board since 2007. He has received numerous national and international awards and honors for his fundamental and applied work in the field of optical sensors and arrays.  Dr. Walt is a member of the Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  He received a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in Chemical Biology from Stony Brook University

RESEARCH VISION: “The ability to observe single molecules has become routine as a result of improvements in light sources, detectors, signal processing algorithms, and molecular constructs with built-in amplification.  Single molecule studies enable ultra-sensitive measurements.  After all, one cannot measure things more precisely than by counting molecules.  In contrast to bulk measurements, where millions of molecules or more are observed and only an average result can be obtained, single molecule studies provide the ability to observe the heterogeneities within populations, including rare outliers with unusual properties.  Micro and nanofluidics will be critical technologies to confine single molecules in ultra-small volumes to facilitate their observation and detection.   My laboratory focuses on measuring single molecules and single cells.  Our single molecule work spans fundamental enzymology to ultra-sensitive detection of proteins and nucleic acids.  Single cell studies enable us to observe the distribution of cellular activities in a population that may enable us to elucidate how rare cells lead to diseases such as cancer.  We employ a wide range of tools including microarrays, microwells, microspheres, and microfluidics.”
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