Heller, Adam Ph.D.

Research ProfessorHeller, Adam
Ernest Cockrell Senior Chair in Engineering Emeritus

Office: CPE 4.450 Mailing Address:
Phone: (512) 471-8874 The University of Texas at Austin
Fax: (512) 471-8799 Department of Chemical Engineering
Email: heller@che.utexas.edu 200 E Dean Keeton St. Stop C0400
UT Mail: C0400 Austin, TX 78712-1589

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


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

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 Awards, 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

  • 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.
  • Wood SM, Powell EJ, Heller A, Mullins CB. Lithiation and Delithiation of Lead Sulfide (PbS). Electrochem. Soc. 2015, 162: A1182-A5.
  • Klavetter KC, Pedro de Souza J, Heller A, Mullins CB. High tap density microparticles of selenium-doped germanium as a high efficiency, stable cycling lithium-ion battery anode material. Mater. Chem. A 2015, 3: 5829-34.
  • Dang HX, Klavetter KC, Meyerson ML, Heller A, Mullins CB. Tin microparticles for a lithium ion battery anode with enhanced cycling stability and efficiency derived from Se-doping. Mater. Chem. A 2015, 3: 13500-6.
  • Klavetter KC, Snider JL, de Souza JP, Tu H, Cell TH, Cho JH, Ellison CJ, Heller A, Mullins CB. A free-standing, flexible lithium-ion anode formed from an air-dried slurry cast of high tap density SnO2, CMC polymer binder and Super-P Li. Mater. Chem. 2014, A 2: 14459-67.

View complete list of Heller’s patents and publications.