Congratulations to Professor Grant Ritchie and team for winning the prestigious chemistry Horizon Prize

7 June 2022

Professor Grant Ritchie, Head of Physical Chemistry at Oxford and fellow of Worcester and Professor Gus Hancock and the Oxford team have won the Royal Society of Chemistry Horizon Prize for Analytical Chemistry. Their research enabled the development of a molecular flow sensor for non-invasive breath analysis to provide measurements of respiratory disease and cardiac output.

The multidisciplinary team, a collaboration between chemists, physiologists, computer modellers, clinicians and the NHS Trust, also receives a trophy, individual certificates and a professionally produced multimedia pack showcasing the prize-winning work and its importance.

After receiving the prize, Kevin Valentine, who led the electronic development of the sensor, said: “Designing the Molecular Flow Sensor has been really rewarding. To see the work carried out over many years by Professor Gus Hancock and Professor Grant Ritchie develop into a real-world application with the potential to help many people shows the importance of this type of research.”

The team’s work uses a combination of optical, mechanical, signal processing and computational techniques to construct a small instrument called a Molecular Flow Sensor which can make highly precise, non-invasive measurements of breath gases.

The sensor has been used as a tool in several respiratory medical studies, including measuring the lung function of asthma and cystic fibrosis sufferers as well as for investigations into long COVID. All the results point to the effectiveness of the sensor in early diagnosis and management of lung disease.

The Horizon Prizes highlight the most exciting, contemporary chemical science at the cutting edge of research and innovation. These prizes are for teams or collaborations who are opening up new directions and possibilities in their field, through ground-breaking scientific developments