Rebecca Richards-Kortum’s 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 grants from the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, 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, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Inventors. In 2016, The American Institute for Medical and Biomedical Engineering (AIMBE) presented its highest honor, the 2016 Pierre Galletti Award, to 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.