In Memoriam

  • Article Image
  • Andrew Brooks
  • Research Professor

Andrew Brooks, 51, a research professor who led the creation of the first coronavirus saliva-based test, which received FDA emergency approval last spring and has played a significant role in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, died unexpectedly on Saturday, January 23, 2021.

More than four million rapid response tests, which were the first approved for home use, have been performed since March, earning Brooks and his lab's pioneering work recognition in The New York Times, CNN and other national media outlets.

Gov. Phil Murphy recognized Brooks and his contribution to help stem the spread of COVID-19 in New Jersey and around the country, calling him “one of our state’s unsung heroes,’’ in his coronavirus press briefing on Monday. Murphy said the Rutgers COVID-19 test has “undoubtedly saved lives” as he praised the legacy Brooks leaves behind.

“We cannot thank Andy enough for all he did across his career,’’ Murphy said. “He will be sorely missed by many.’’

Rutgers-New Brunswick Chancellor Christopher J. Molloy, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences Chancellor Brian Strom and S. David Kimball, Rutgers Senior Vice President of Research, in a joint statement, said, “We at Rutgers offer our heartfelt condolences to his family, including his three children, and with them we take pride in his achievements that will have lasting impact.”

Brooks was a research professor in Rutgers-New Brunswick’s School of Arts and Sciences in the Department of Genetics, an academic member of the Human Genetics Institute of New Jersey, a research faculty member in Rutgers’ Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute and a member of its NIHS Center of Excellence, and a member of the graduate faculty in Rutgers Joint Graduate Program in Toxicology.

His career was distinguished by outstanding scholarship, service in the field of biomedicine and business activities designed to improve human health. As chief operating officer and director of technology development at RUCDR Infinite Biologics, he led the effort to develop the COVID-19 saliva test. The test received FDA emergency use authorization as the first approved saliva diagnostic and a month later as the first of any test approved for home use.

To read the full article on his legacy, click [here].