Andrew Brooks

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Andrew Brooks
Born(1969-02-10)February 10, 1969
DiedJanuary 23, 2021(2021-01-23) (aged 51)
Education
Known for
  • First FDA approved COVID-19 saliva-based/home-use test
Spouse(s)Jill Brooks
Children3
Scientific career
FieldsMolecular neuroscience
Institutions

Andrew Ira Brooks (February 10, 1969 – January 23, 2021) was an American immunologist, academic, and businessman. He was an associate research professor at Rutgers University and the developer of the first FDA-approved rapid saliva test for COVID-19 diagnosis.[1][2]

Early life[edit source | edit]

Brooks was born in Bronxville, New York, on February 10, 1969, to Phyllis (née Heitner) and Perry H. Brooks. His mother was a school teacher while his father was a diamond setter.[3] He was raised in Old Bridge Township, New Jersey and later attended Cornell University, majoring in animal sciences with the intention of becoming a veterinarian. He switched his academic focus after a summer internship at Memorial Sloan Kettering and in 2000 received a PhD from University of Rochester[3] in neuroscience.[1]

Career and research[edit source | edit]

After completing his PhD, Brooks remained at the University of Rochester, later becoming director of Medical Center Core Facilities.[4] Four years later, he returned to New Jersey to work at Rutgers,[3] joining the faculties of Environmental Medicine and Genetics, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, and Toxicology.[5]

In 2009, Brooks began working at the Rutgers University Cell and DNA Repository (RUCDR), a university-company for data management and research analysis.[6] He eventually became CEO of the company and it became a private entity (now called Infinity BiologiX) in 2018.[7] He was also the Chief Science Officer for Spectrum Solutions.[8] He was a member of the New Jersey Economic Advisory Council, [9] and the Director of the Bionomics Research and Technology Center (BRTC) at the Environmental and Occupational Health Science Institute of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.[10]

For 17 years he was Director of the Harlan (now Envigo) GeneScreen Laboratory, and as an advisor to the Food and Drug Administration.[11]

Brooks was also both COO and director of technology of RUCDR Infinite Biologics. At RUCDR, he developed a saliva-spit test for COVID-19 as an alternative to naso- or oropharyngeal swab tests which both increased speed of results and minimized the need for medical professionals to be involved in the testing process.[12] He used the capabilities built up to perform genetic tests through saliva and adapted the same techniques to extract the necessary RNA from the virus.[3] The test received emergency use authorization from the FDA in April 2020,[13][14] making it the first at-home test to be approved by federal authorities.[15][16] In addition to designing the saliva test he commercialized the test and scaled production operations to meet the rollout demands.[3] More than 4 million people have used the test.[4]

He co-authored over 70 publications, with over 1000 citations in literature.[11] In addition to his work on COVID-19, his research included investigations of the molecular mechanisms that underlie memories and learning, which involved studies on gene-environment interaction, including those in neurodegenerative diseases; as well as high throughput sample analysis[17] and biobanking.[1]

Personal life[edit source | edit]

Brooks was married to Jill Brooks. The couple had three daughters.[1][18] He was a golf enthusiast, playing often with his father and participating successfully in international tournaments as an amateur.[1]

Brooks died of a heart attack on January 23, 2021.[19] New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy lauded him as an "unsung hero".[20]

Published works[edit source | edit]

  • Wagner, Victoria E.; Bushnell, Daniel; Passador, Luciano; Brooks, Andrew I.; Iglewski, Barbara H. (April 1, 2003). "Microarray Analysis of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Quorum-Sensing Regulons: Effects of Growth Phase and Environment". Journal of Bacteriology. 185 (7): 2080–2095. doi:10.1128/JB.185.7.2080-2095.2003. ISSN 0021-9193. PMC 151498. PMID 12644477.
  • Welle, Stephen; Brooks, Andrew I.; Delehanty, Joseph M.; Needler, Nancy; Thornton, Charles A. (July 7, 2003). "Gene expression profile of aging in human muscle". Physiological Genomics. 14 (2): 149–159. doi:10.1152/physiolgenomics.00049.2003. ISSN 1094-8341. PMID 12783983.
  • Yao, Pamela J; Zhu, Min; Pyun, Eunice I; Brooks, Andrew I; Therianos, Stavros; Meyers, Victoria E; Coleman, Paul D (March 1, 2003). "Defects in expression of genes related to synaptic vesicle trafficking in frontal cortex of Alzheimer's disease". Neurobiology of Disease. 12 (2): 97–109. doi:10.1016/S0969-9961(02)00009-8. ISSN 0969-9961. PMID 12667465. S2CID 13102389.

References[edit source | edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Buccino, Neal (January 26, 2021). "Mourning the Death of Rutgers' Andrew Brooks, a Leader in the Fight Against COVID-19". Rutgers.edu. Archived from the original on January 26, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  2. Snyder, Alec (January 31, 2021). "Andrew Brooks, who led development of the first FDA-approved Covid-19 saliva test, dies at 51". CNN. Archived from the original on February 1, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Risen, Clay (January 31, 2021). "Andrew Brooks, Who Developed a Coronavirus Spit Test, Dies at 51". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Rutgers professor who led development of COVID-19 saliva test dies at 51". www.phillyvoice.com. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  5. "In Memoriam: Andrew I. Brooks (1969–2021)". Rutgers.edu. Archived from the original on February 1, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  6. "Scientist Spotlight: Andrew Brooks, PhD". Behind the Bench. April 10, 2019. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  7. CNN, Alec Snyder. "Andrew Brooks, who led development of the first FDA-approved Covid-19 saliva test, dies at 51". Albany Herald. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  8. "Spectrum Solutions Mourns the Death of Dr. Andrew Brooks". www.businesswire.com. January 29, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  9. "Speaker Coughlin on Passing of Rutgers Research Pioneer Andrew Brooks". New Jersey Assembly Democrats. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  10. "Andrew Brooks Bioprocessing Solutions Alliance". Precision Medicine World Conference 2017 Duke. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Andrew Brooks Obituary – Manalapan, NJ". Dignity Memorial. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  12. Garcia, Victor (April 14, 2020). "Rutgers professor describes his saliva test for coronavirus: 'You simply have to spit into a tube'". Fox News. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  13. Coleman, Justine (January 31, 2021). "Rutgers researcher who developed first COVID-19 saliva test dies". TheHill. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  14. Staff, MedTech Intelligence (April 14, 2020). "Rutgers University Granted EUA for Saliva Test for Coronavirus". MedTech Intelligence. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  15. Murphy, Justin. "Andrew Brooks, former URMC doctor who created first saliva COVID test, dies". Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  16. "Dr. Andrew Brooks, Rutgers scientist who developed first COVID spit test, passes away, school announces". KMGH. January 28, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  17. "Andrew Brooks – Research". rutgers.edu. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  18. "Rutgers Professor – Andrew Brooks". www.phillyvoice.com. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  19. "Andrew Brooks, who led development of the first FDA-approved Covid-19 saliva test, dies at 51". KNBR. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  20. Chung, Gabrielle (January 27, 2021). "Rutgers Scientist Who Developed COVID Spit Test Dies Unexpectedly at 51: He 'Undoubtedly Saved Lives'". Health.com. Archived from the original on January 27, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2021.

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