Helmy is an entrepreneur and pioneer in the biotech industry. After receiving his PhD, MS and BS degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University, he joined the Stanford Genome Technology Center (SGTC) as a post-doctoral fellow in 2006 to work on low-cost DNA sequencing technologies. During his doctoral studies and at the SGTC, he developed the first semiconductor sequencing platform and first base-calling algorithm for next-generation sequencing under several NHGRI grants. In 2007, he co-founded Avantome to commercialize semiconductor sequencing to help speed up the democratization of high throughput DNA sequencing until its acquisition by Illumina in August 2008. At Illumina, Helmy was Senior Director of Advanced Technology Research, where he developed novel chemistries, hardware and informatics for genetic analysis systems.