Charles is co-founder, and retired Chief Scientific Officer at SEQUENOM, Inc., the leading provider of noninvasive prenatal testing. He consults for a number of biotech companies, and is co-founder and executive director of Retrotope (USA), a clinical stage pharmaceutical company. Charles was educated in chemistry at Columbia College (AB, 1963) and UC Berkeley (PhD, 1966). He became a full professor of chemistry at Columbia University at the age of 29. Charles has held academic and leadership positions at Columbia and several other distinguished American universities, but for the past 20 years he has focused his efforts in biotechnology companies. Charles is currently professor emeritus of Biomedical Engineering and of Pharmacology at Boston University. He is adjunct professor of Molecular Biology at the Scripps Institute for Research, distinguished adjunct professor of Physiology and Biophysics at UC Irvine, and adjunct professor at the Moscow institute of Physics and Technology. Charles has been granted more than 60 US patents and, with Paul Schimmel, wrote a three-volume textbook on biophysical chemistry that has remained the standard in the field for more than 35 years. He has published more than 450 peer-reviewed articles, and is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and The National Academy of Inventors. His major scientific accomplishments include the development of pulsed field electrophoresis, immuno-PCR, affinity capture electrophoresis, the earliest uses of FRET to characterize distances in protein complexes and nucleic acids, the standard methods for assaying and purifying microtubule protein, various applications of nucleic acid mass spectrometry, and methods for noninvasive prenatal diagnostics. He is also considered to be one of the founders of the new field of synthetic biology.