Dr. Helen M. Free

Dr. Helen M. Free

Title: Member, IP Council
Email: hmfree23@aol.com

Helen Free graduated from the College of Wooster. She had intended to become an English and Latin teacher, but switched her major and received a B.S. in Chemistry in 1944. She then began working as a control chemist with Miles Laboratories. She received an M.A. in Chemistry from Central Michigan University in 1978 and honorary D.Sc. degrees from both institutions.

At Miles Laboratories, Dr. Free spent the major part of her career in the Diagnostics Division where she received several patents for clinical laboratory tests for glucose, bilirubin , and other analytes in urine and blood. Her work, and that of her colleagues, led to the development of the present-day self testing urine and blood glucose systems used all over the world by individuals with diabetes to control their disease. At Miles, she met and worked with her future husband, Alfred Free. In 1969, Dr. Free moved into the Growth and Development Department. She became Director of Specialty Test Systems in 1976. She was Director of Marketing Services for the Research Products Division when Bayer Diagnostics acquired Miles in 1978. She retired in 1982 from Bayer, but continues to consult for the company.

Dr. Free has served as President of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry and is Past President of the American Chemical Society; she remains involved in several chemistry awareness programs such as the International Chemistry Celebration, National Chemistry Week, National Science and Technology Week, the National Historical Chemical Landmark Program and Medical Laboratory Week. She has also served as adjunct faculty member of Indiana University at South Bend. Most recently, Dr. Free was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for the introduction of convenient dip-and-read urine tests.

Dr. Free originally hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.