Alan Finkel’s precision scientific instruments for electrophysiology, fluorescence imaging, and gene expression have provided measurement tools integral to advanced research and the discovery of new medicines. In 1983, Finkel founded Axon Instruments to commercially produce his Axoclamp single-electrode voltage clamp, which mimicked the functionality of two electrodes. This allowed the voltage clamp technique to be applied even when the cell could not be visualized. He then developed the Axopatch patch clamp to measure the current flowing through ion channels in a wider range of disease and cell types than previously possible. He was also instrumental in designing laser-scanner DNA microarrays; fully automated fluorescence microscope systems; and the Population Patch Clamp, which can record from dozens of cultured cells simultaneously for more efficient drug discovery.
An IEEE Fellow, Finkel is Australia’s Chief Scientist, Canberra, Australia.