David R. Walt, Ph.D.


David R. Walt, Ph.D.


David serves as an advisor to Illumina Ventures. He is the Hansjörg Wyss Professor of Bioinspired Engineering at Harvard Medical School, Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Core Faculty Member of the Wyss Institute at Harvard University, Associate Member at the Broad Institute, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor, and co-Director of the Mass General Brigham Center for COVID Innovation.

David pioneered the use of microwell arrays for single-molecule detection and genetic measurements, which has revolutionized the process of genetic and proteomic analysis, enabling the cost of DNA sequencing and genotyping to plummet nearly a millionfold in the last decade. He is the Scientific Founder of Illumina Inc. and Quanterix Corp. He has co-founded multiple life science startups, including Ultivue, Inc., Arbor Biotechnologies, Sherlock Biosciences, Vizgen, Inc., and Torus Biosciences. His lab develops new diagnostics tools and new biomarker assay technologies based on single molecule detection that can address unmet clinical needs in diagnostics. The lab focuses on early detection of breast cancer, active tuberculosis and other infectious diseases and diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases. His lab has also helped develop new tools to understand and diagnose COVID-19 and pursues fundamental research on single enzyme molecules to provide insight into enzyme mechanisms.

He has received numerous national and international awards and honors for his fundamental and applied work in the field of optical microwell arrays and single molecules, including the 2021 Kabiller Prize in Nanoscience and Nanomedicine. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, and is inducted in the U.S. National Inventors Hall of Fame.

David received a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in Chemical Biology from SUNY at Stony Brook.