Austen J. Heinz

Austen J. Heinz


Austen James Heinz, 31, died Sunday, May 24, 2015, in San Francisco.

A funeral and reception were held at Trinity-St. Peter's Episcopal Church in San Francisco on Saturday, May 30, with the Rev. Patricia Cunningham officiating.

Austen is survived by his mother, Martha Lea Heinz, of Pinehurst; father, James (Jim) Heinz (Caryl), of Hendersonville; sister Adrienne Heinz (Barrett); nephew, Ryker Elmer; sister Jean Heinz, of San Diego; step-grandmother, Janice Lea; lifelong best friend Robert Thomas and family; girlfriend, Seoyeong Noh, of Mexico City; godmother, Linda Chimpen; and many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

He was predeceased by his grandparents, Dr. Bill and Betsy Heinz, formerly of River Hills, S.C.; Jean Lea; and most recently Robert Lea, formerly of Pinehurst.

Austen graduated from Pinecrest High School (2002) and was a recipient of the Woods Foundation Scholarship and a Naval ROTC scholarship to attend Duke University. After graduating from Duke, Austen attended Seoul National University in South Korea, where he earned a master's degree in electrical engineering.

He took leave from his doctoral studies to launch his company, Cambrian Genomics, in 2011, in California. As founder and CEO of Cambrian Genomics, Austen worked to change the world by democratizing access to synthetic DNA through cost-effective, accurate DNA laser printing.

Austen had many interests, including traveling the world, speaking at conferences, playing the guitar, surfing with his sister Jean, snowboarding, snorkeling and hiking. His courage, compassion and generosity began at an early age with a mission trip to Honduras for Habitat for Humanity, and his Eagle Scout project for Weymouth Woods.

Austen was a devoted son, loving brother, compassionate friend and altruistic spirit who wished only to make this a better world. He will be missed by all who knew and loved him.

Austen's generosity to the scientific community included sponsoring community events and mentoring students. To recognize his commitment to young scientists, the Heinz family asks that donations be made to iGEM Foundation, When you make a donation, your memories and stories will be sent to Austen's family.

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