A British Cypriot, Professor Christofer Toumazou has become a finalist in the European Inventor Award in the research category, ‘Famagusta Gazette’ reports.
Toumazou’s invention is a USB stick that decodes a patient’s DNA within minutes. According to the organisers of the Awards, unravelling the complexities of the human genome could only be achieved by top scientists, but this invention employs small silicon microchips that can identify genetic mutations that determine a person’s predispositions to certain hereditary diseases.
These portable, low-power devices can analyse data on the spot rather than in a laboratory environment. The invention represents a big leap in medicine as the focus shifts from treatment to prevention of illnesses and diagnosing them in a targeted manner.
DNA sequencing can bring huge rewards in the market place with business estimated to be worth US$ 6.6 billion by 2016 and growing by 17.5% annually.
The European Inventor Awards bring together some of the world’s brightest innovators, as well as leading figures from business, politics, media and the sciences.
Christofer Toumazou competes in the science category together with the other finalists, who are Thomas Tuschl (Germany) for gene-silencing technique to treat diseases and Philippe Cinquin, Serge Cosnier, Chantal Gondran, Fabien Giroud (France) for implantable biofuel cell that runs on glucose.
Professor Toumazou is of Greek-Cypriot decent – his parents lived in Yeni Erenkoy/Yialousa until the late 1950s, and moved to the UK shortly before he was born.
He and his family have maintained strong links with the island, and he has mentored Cypriot science students in the past.
At the age of 33, he became Imperial College London’s youngest professor. Professor Toumazou is an electrical engineer who turned his attention to medical technology and invented a “DNA lab on a USB stick”.
The ninth European Inventor Award ceremony will take place on 17th June, 2014 in Berlin.
The awards will be presented to winners in the following categories: Industry, Non-European Countries, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs), Research, Popular Prize and Lifetime Achievement.