Newswise — The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering the nation’s most promising innovators in science and technology, today announced the election of Michael Schnall-Levin to its board of directors.

Schnall-Levin is the chief technology officer and founding scientist at 10x Genomics, a life science technology company building instruments, consumables and software for single-cell and spatial biology. In this role, he sets the company’s research and development strategy, leading multidisciplinary teams to deliver a rapid velocity of groundbreaking products to help customers master biology and advance human health. In addition to leading internal product development, Schnall-Levin is also responsible for external technology evaluation, including for licensing and mergers and acquisitions.

“Michael brought together talented, passionate people across different disciplines to create a mission-driven company with global reach and impact,” says Stephen Fantone, chair of the board of directors for the Hertz Foundation. “As we work to increase the foundation’s reach and impact, his expertise will be invaluable to the board.”

As a Hertz Fellow himself, Schnall-Levin shares with the entire Hertz community an unwavering commitment to applying his talents to the most pressing challenges facing our nation and world. He also brings to the board his own distinct view of the fellowship experience and the capacity to advocate for the particular needs of Hertz Fellows.

The Hertz Fellowship—the most prestigious doctoral fellowship program of its kind—is awarded to the nation’s most exceptional students in applied science, engineering and mathematics, providing the resources and lifelong support to accelerate their careers and amplify their research for ultimate impact.

“Michael has enormous expertise in guiding a rapidly growing and diverse team toward a common mission,” says Robbee Baker Kosak, president of the Hertz Foundation. “I’m thrilled to have Michael join the board, as we work together to amplify the foundation’s impact.”

Schnall-Levin points to the collaborative, multidisciplinary Hertz community as a model for the architecture of 10x Genomics. When the company went public in 2019, Schnall-Levin was eager to pay his success forward through a generous gift in support of Hertz Fellows.

Schnall-Levin will begin his board term this month, along with four other new board members: Cheri Ackerman, co-founder and CEO, Concerto Biosciences; Steven B. Lipner, executive director, SAFECode; Max Mankin, co-founder and CTO, Modern Hydrogen; and Alfred Spector, visiting scholar, MIT, and senior advisor, Blackstone.

Interview with Michael Schnall-Levin

We sat down with Schnall-Levin to learn more about his work and what he hopes to contribute to the organization.

What are you working on right now that’s most exciting to you?

Schnall-Levin: We have a big year of product launches ahead that will raise the bar for all three of our platforms. One product I’m particularly excited about is called GEM-X, the next generation of our single-cell technology architecture. It’s going to enable better, faster and more cost-effective single-cell research for academic and translational researchers.

Why is joining the board important to you?

Schnall-Levin: I believe in the organization and the diverse community it has created. I look forward to working alongside a really interesting group of people outside my day-to-day world.

What unique insights or perspectives do you bring to the board?

Schnall-Levin: I think the board may benefit from my experience in biotech and as a leader of a fast-growing startup, but I am open to discovering where and in what way my contributions are most needed.

Why is the Hertz Foundation important for the future of science and technology?

Schnall-Levin: The Hertz Foundation identifies a special group of people—multidisciplinary, creative, entrepreneurial. Then the Hertz community inspires, supports and nudges them to take initiative. The future of science and technology needs as much of this as possible.

What advice would you give to the newest class of Hertz Fellows?

Work hard, but don’t worry about knowing the exact path you’ll take. Stay open to a variety of experiences outside academia.

About the Hertz Foundation

The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation identifies the nation’s most promising innovators in science and technology and empowers them to pursue solutions to our toughest challenges. Launched in 1963, the Hertz Fellowship is the most prestigious fellowship program in the U.S., fueling more than 1,280 leaders, disruptors and creators who apply their remarkable talents where they’re needed most — from our national security to the future of healthcare. Hertz Fellows hold over 3,000 patents, have founded more than 375 companies, and have received more than 200 major national and international awards, including two Nobel Prizes, 10 Breakthrough Prizes, the National Medal of Technology, the Fields Medal and the Turing Award.  Additionally, 52 are members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, and 37 are fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Learn more at