Andreas Heirlemann Gives Inaugural Oliver Brand Memorial Lecture on Electronics and Nanotechnology

Andreas Heirlemann and Micheal Filler (Photo by Laurie Haigh)

The inaugural Oliver Brand Memorial Lectureship on Electronics and Nanotechnology was held on Nov. 13 at Georgia Tech. The lecture was presented by Andreas Heirlemann, professor of biosystems science and engineering at ETH Zürich, on microphysicological systems and highly integrated microelectrode arrays.

His talk marks the beginning of an annual lecture series established in memory of Professor Oliver Brand, who passed away in April. Brand had served as the executive director of the Georgia Tech Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology (IEN) since 2014.

“Oliver’s work, especially in microelectromechanical systems and CMOS-based microsystems, is widely respected in the community, with more than 190 publications to his name,” said Mike Filler, IEN’s interim executive director. “Andreas Heirlemann’s scientific contributions embody the innovative spirit and excellence that Oliver championed throughout his life.”

In addition to their research connection, Heirlemann also had a personal connection with Brand. They worked closely together in the same research lab at ETH Zürich for three years before Brand moved to Georgia Tech.

“What impressed me most about Oliver was his innate friendliness,” said Hierlemann. “He was always supportive. He was always motivating students. I never heard a harsh word come out of him. He had an extremely positive outlook on life that I learned to admire. That is what I take as his legacy.”

Hierlemann’s lecture was presented in two parts. The first focused on microfluidics, hanging drop networks, and microphysiological systems. Microphysicological systems are 3D cell assemblies, or membrane structures like organs, that occur naturally in the body or are grown with stem cells. These systems allow for comprehensive testing and studying tissue interactions. 

The second part of his talk focused on high-density microelectrode array systems, including neuronal systems characterization and the handling and use of neurons.

Brand spent more than 20 years as a member of the Georgia Tech faculty. In addition to leading IEN, he was a professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, director of the Coordinating Office for the NSF-funded National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI), and director of the Southeastern Nanotechnology Infrastructure Corridor, one of the 16 NNCI sites.

Brand united researchers in the fields of electronics and nanotechnology, fostering collaboration and expanding IEN to include more than 200 faculty members. In addition to his respected work in the field of microelectromechanical systems, he is remembered for his kindness, dedication, and unwavering support toward all who knew him.

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