Carnegie Mellon University
June 13, 2018

Alan Waggoner Wins Fulwyler Award for Innovative Excellence

By Jocelyn Duffy

Jocelyn Duffy
  • Associate Dean for Communications, Mellon College of Science
  • 412-963-7274

Alan Waggoner, the Maxwell H. and Gloria C. Connan Professor in the Life Sciences, has been named the winner of the 2018 Mack Fulwyler Award for Innovative Excellence from the International Society for the Advancement of Cytometry (ISAC). Waggoner accepted the award at the society’s annual congress in Prague this spring. 

The Fulwyler Award is ISAC’s highest award and recognizes an individual who has demonstrated outstanding innovation by invention, or in a career of innovative science. The award is named after Mack J. Fulwyler, who invented the electrostatic cell sorter.

Waggoner was recognized for his fundamental contributions to the development of fluorescent-based detection systems for biology and biotechnology, which have advanced research worldwide. Waggoner invented cyanine-based dyes called CyDyes, which are used to detect macromolecules like proteins and nucleic acids in cells and tissues. His dyes have greatly contributed to our understanding of how gene and cellular functions are regulated.

Waggoner first joined the Carnegie Mellon faculty in 1982 after previously being the chairman of the Department of Chemistry at Amherst College. He left Carnegie Mellon in 1992 to become vice chairman of Biological Detection Systems, Inc., a Pittsburgh start-up company that sold microscope imagining systems and fluorescent labeling reagents developed at the university. In 1994, the start-up was bought by Amersham PLC and Waggoner joined Amersham as principal scientist and head of fluorescence.

In 1999, Waggoner returned to Carnegie Mellon as the director of the Molecular Biosensor and Imaging Center (MBIC). Under his leadership, MBIC became world renowned for its expertise in biochemistry, genetics, dye chemistry, and imaging.  

Waggoner is the holder of 27 patents and the recipient of numerous awards. In 2010, Waggoner received ISAC’s distinguished service for his significant contributions to both the advancement of flow cytometry and to the society.