Malcolm Gillis University Professor
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ph.D., Medical Physics
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, M.S., Physics
University of Nebraska, B.S., Physics and Mathematics
Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Ph.D. is the Rice University Malcolm Gillis University Professor** of Bioengineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering, and she is the Director of Rice 360°: Institute for Global Health, Director of the Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering, and serves as the special advisor to the Provost on health-related research and educational initiatives. Her research has been instrumental in improving early detection of cancers and other diseases, especially in low-resources settings. She is currently working with colleagues and undergraduate students to develop a Nursery of the Future to provide technologies necessary to reduce neonatal death in sub-Saharan Africa to rates equivalent to the United States.
Richards-Kortum’s research has led to the development of 40 patents. She is author of the textbook Biomedical Engineering for Global Health (Cambridge University Press, 2010), more than 230 refereed research papers and 11 book chapters. Her teaching programs, research and collaborations have been supported by generous grants from the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health (with more NIH grants than any other Rice professor), National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Defense, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Whitaker Foundation, and the Virginia and L.E. Simmons Family Foundation.
She is a member of numerous academic associations including the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. As a member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, she has the rare distinction of dual membership in the National Academies. In 2016, The American Institute for Medical and Biomedical Engineering (AIMBE) presented its highest honor, the Pierre Galletti Award to Dr. Richards-Kortum.
In 2008, she was named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor and subsequently received a grant for the undergraduate global health program at Rice. This program won the Science Prize for Inquiry-Based Instruction from Science magazine and the Lemelson-MIT Award for Global Innovation.
**The title of “University Professor” is an appointment-at-large that enables the faculty member to teach in any academic department and share expertise broadly across disciplines to foster greater intellectual pursuits at Rice.