UCL scientist wins lifetime achievement award
17 August 2011
Professor Roger Ekins, the recently retired Head of UCL Molecular Endocrinology, has been given the Department of Health's Lifetime Achievement Award.
Professor Ekins is internationally recognized as the originator of radioimmunoassay and related 'ligand assay' methods. His first publication in this field was in 1960, relating to the assay of serum thyroid hormones associated with goitre (swelling of the thyroid). He has received many awards for his work in this area. Microarray methods now make up half of all diagnostic tests used worldwide and are the mainstay of a $10 billion dollar immunodiagnostics industry, transforming diagnosis in almost every branch of medicine.
In 1973, Professor Ekins launched the supra-regional assay service, his lab becoming the first to offer specialist national testing. In the mid 1980s, he conceived of a revolutionary 'multianalyte' assay methodology that is now transforming research in the fields of DNA and RNA analysis, immunoassay, genomics and proteomics.
This miniaturised technology permits the simultaneous, ultra-sensitive, measurement of thousands of different substances of biological importance (such as hormones, proteins, viruses, genes) in a single drop of blood. His technology has opened the door to the next revolution in diagnostics and to the widely predicted era of personalised medicine and targeted treatments.