Imperial College London

COVID-19 test pioneer elected to the National Academy of Engineering

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Professor Chris Toumazou with the DnaNudge testing kit

Professor Toumazou with the testing kit

Professor Chris Toumazou has been elected International Member of the National Academy of Engineering in the USA.

Election to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honours those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature" and to "the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education."

I am honoured to have my work celebrated in this way, and look forward to my induction at the National Academy of Engineering later this year. Professor Chris Toumazou Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Professor Toumazou was recognised ‘for innovations in electronics for medicine, including rapid diagnostics.’

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Professor Toumazou engineered a highly accurate, lab-free COVID-19 test (“CovidNudge”) that provides results in under 90 minutes. The Lab-in-a-Cartridge RT-PCR test, developed by his Imperial startup DnaNudge, is now being used on the frontline in NHS hospitals across the country after 5.8 million units were ordered by the UK Government.

For this achievement he was awarded the President's Special Award for Pandemic Service by the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Professor Toumazou, of Imperial’s Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, is Imperial’s Regius Professor of Engineering, Chair in Biomedical Circuit Design, Director of the Centre for Bio-Inspired Technology and Founder and Chief Scientist for the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Imperial. He is distinguished for his innovative silicon technology and integrated circuit design for electronic devices for medical diagnosis and therapy.

Chris Toumazou is one of the world’s eminent medical engineers. The rapid testing kit for COVID-19 that he developed here at Imperial played an important role in supporting hospitals and the national effort against coronavirus. Professor Alice Gast President, Imperial College London

Professor Toumazou said: “I am honoured to have my work celebrated in this way, and look forward to my induction at the National Academy of Engineering later this year. I was extremely proud to lead the development of this breakthrough lab-free rapid test for COVID-19 last year and, with the ability to test for other viruses on the same cartridge, this multiplex testing platform offers great potential for transformative near-patient diagnostics as we move beyond the current pandemic.”

Professor Alice Gast, President of Imperial, said: “Chris Toumazou is one of the world’s eminent medical engineers. The rapid testing kit for COVID-19 that he developed here at Imperial played an important role in supporting hospitals and the national effort against coronavirus. This well-deserved award recognises his outstanding contribution to engineering and innovation.” 

Individuals in the newly elected class, of which there are 106 new members and 23 international members, will be formally inducted during the NAE's annual meeting on Oct. 3, 2021. A list of the new members and international members follows, with their primary affiliations at the time of election and a brief statement of their principal engineering accomplishments.

Photo of the DnaNudge testing kit
The DnaNudge COVID-19 testing kit

In 2019, Imperial bioengineer Professor Molly Stevens was inducted into the NAE alongside Imperial alum Sir Sam Jonah (MSc Resources Engineering 1979).

Photo: Imperial College London

This story was adapted from a press release by the NAE.

See the press release of this article

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Caroline Brogan

Caroline Brogan
Communications and Public Affairs

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