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Carl T. Wittwer, M.D., Ph.D.

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  • English

Clinical Details

Phone Number Clinical Office Address
(801) 581-2507
University Hospital
50 N Medical Dr
Salt Lake City, UT 84132



Dr. Wittwer is currently the medical director of Immunologic Flow Cytometry at Associated Regional and University Pathologists (ARUP), Salt Lake City, UT. In the early 1990s, he initiated molecular diagnostics at ARUP by forming its first molecular lab. From 2002 to 2012 he served as medical director of the Advanced Technology Group at ARUP. He currently signs out flow cytometry and high resolution molecular genetics cases by DNA melting. He is board certified in anatomic and clinical pathology by the American Board of Pathology.

In 1990, Dr. Wittwer co-founded BioFire Diagnostics, a company that has now grown to over 600 people and is located in the University of Utah Research Park. He is the primary inventor of the LightCycler® system, with over 10,000 units placed worldwide by Roche and served as Chairman of the Board from 2012-2014 until the company was acquired by BioMerrieux. In 2003, a portable version of the LightCycler, the R.A.P.I.D.® was selected as the real-time PCR platform for military defense against biologic weapons by the US government. Dr. Wittwer holds 37 US patents and their foreign equivalents. He received small business innovation awards in 1999 and 2002, the State of Utah Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology in 2003 and the IQLM Technical Advancement Award in 2005. Since 2003, he has directed the State of Utah Center of Excellence on “Homogeneous DNA Analysis”. The Center focuses on high-resolution DNA melting of PCR products, developing methods for genotyping (unlabeled probes, snapback primers, amplicon melting), mutation scanning, and sequence identity. The FilmArray is a BioFire Product that was FDA approved in 2011 for upper respiratory infection diagnosis. A one-hour sample-to-answer platform that indentifies 20 different respiratory pathogens, it is enjoying rapid commercialization as an easy-to-use, point of impact diagnostic platform. Additional FDA-approved panels on the FilmArray include identification of pathogens causing positive blood cultures and diarrhea. A meningities panel is under review by the FDA, and preclinical work for a pneumonia panel is underway.

Board Certification and Academic Information

Academic Departments Pathology - Professor
Academic Divisions Clinical Pathology
Board Certification American Board of Pathology (Anatomic & Clinical)
American Board of Pathology (Anatomic & Clinical)

Academic Profile

Research Interests

  • Molecular Genetics
  • Flow Cytometry
  • DNA Mutational Analysis

Board Certification and Academic Information

Academic Departments Pathology - Professor
Academic Divisions Clinical Pathology
Board Certification American Board of Pathology (Anatomic & Clinical)
American Board of Pathology (Anatomic & Clinical)

Academic Office Locations

Academic Office Phone Number Academic Office Address
(801) 581-4737 School of Medicine
30 N 1900 E
Salt Lake City, UT 84132

Academic Bio

Carl Wittwer is a Professor of Pathology at the University of Utah Medical School. He received a Ph.D. from Utah State University, a M.D. from the University of Michigan, and completed residency training in pathology at the University of Utah. He was the first holder the C. Scott and Dorothy E. Watkins endowed Chair in Pathology, honoring Ernst J. Eichwald, MD. He received the AACC award for Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Chemistry in 2004, the IFCC Award for Significant Contributions to Molecular Diagnostics in 2005, the AMP Award for Excellence in Molecular Diagnostics in 2008, the University of Utah Award for Impact and Innovation in 2011, the AACC Edwin F. Ullman Award in 2013, and the Lifetime Achievement Genius Award in SLC in 2015.

Dr. Wittwer has published more than 200 research articles and book chapters focusing on technique and instrument development in molecular diagnostics. In the early 1990s he developed rapid-cycle PCR techniques for DNA amplification in 10-15 min. In the mid-1990s, he adapted flow cytometry optics to thermal cycling for real-time monitoring of PCR. He introduced SYBR Green I, fluorescent hybridization probes, and melting analysis, and high-resolution melting (HRM) to real-time PCR, techniques that are widely used in real-time instruments today. He has been on the Clinical Chemistry Board of Editors since 2000 and an Associate Editor since 2002. He is the editor of the Book Series, “Rapid Cycle Real-Time PCR” published by Springer-Verlag. Recently, his research has modified the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for efficient amplification in less than 1 minute, opening up new possibilities for immediate nucleic acid diagnostics.


TechVentures : Profile of Dr Carl Wittwer and Innovation at the University of Utah, 2012.

Inspiring Minds : Essay by Misia Landau about Carl Wittwer: Clinical Chemistry, 55: 1744-1746, 2009.

AACC Molecular Pathology Division Newsletter, Featured Member, 21(1), 2009.


Compromised Melting | PCR Feature in Biotechniques, March, 2012:

BioSpectrum Asia, February, 2009:

PCR: The cornerstone of modern molecular biology BioSpectrum India, February, 2009:

BioSpectrum Asia, February, 2009:

AACC Mentor of the Month, (May 2005):


Kary B. Mullis, in the preface to, The Polymerase Chain Reaction, Springer Science and Business, 1994, page xi: “Few, strictly methodological people are working with DNA. A refreshing exception is Carl Wittwer, from, strangely enough, the Pathology Department at Utah Medical School. I would have thought, Chemical Engineering at Cal Tech, but I knew otherwise. If I were you, I would read his paper, or have someone more technically competent explain it. Carl has thought about PCR in a way that very few others have, and his thoughts are crisp and practical. I have always known that a good physiochemical description of PCR would be very useful, but deriving one was over my head. Others have tried but not succeeded…”

W. Edward Highsmith, Jr, in an editorial for Clinical Chemistry, 2004;50:1296-1298: “Dr. Wittwer and his colleagues have pioneered rapid, affordable mutation-detection technology and have moved these developments out of the engineering laboratory and into the clinical laboratory. Looking to the future, I can hardly wait to see what the Wizard of Salt Lake will come up with next.”

Stephen A. Bustin, in the preface to, The PCR Revolution; Basic Technologies and Applications, Cambridge University Press, 2010, page xiv: “Contributors include giants of the PCR field: Carl Wittwer, the ‘father’ of qPCR instrumentation as well the pacesetter behind numerous practical qPCR innovations…”


Education History

Type School Degree
Residency University of Utah School of Medicine
Professional Medical University of Michigan
Doctoral Training Utah State University
Undergraduate Utah State University
Undergraduate Middlebury College


Selected Provider Publications

Clinical Trials

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