Professor Tim SpectorOne of our researchers has been awarded an OBE in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours list. Professor Tim Spector has been honoured for his services to the COVID-19 response.

Professor Spector led the development of the COVID-19 symptom tracker app, which is used by over four million people to regularly report on their health, making it the largest public science project of its kind anywhere in the world. The data is then analysed by Professor Spector’s team at TwinsUK and King’s College London.

This work has been vital in understanding the signs and spread of COVID-19. For instance, the team collected valuable data which eventually led to loss of or changes to sense of taste and smell being listed as a symptom of COVID-19.

Professor Spector also set up TwinsUK, the UK’s largest adult twin registry and the most clinically detailed in the world.

The registry now has over 15,000 identical and non-identical twins from across the UK, with ages between eighteen and one hundred. It aims to investigate the genetic and environmental basis of a range of complex diseases and conditions.

Professor Spector said: “This is an award for the whole team that put the app and project together so rapidly in March – from our biotech partners at ZOE ltd who constructed the app in four days, to my amazing clinical and academic colleagues who have been working tirelessly on this for months- especially Claire Steves and Seb Ourselin and their teams and the four million loyal app users.”

Commenting on the award, Matt Brown, Director of our BRC, said:

“We are delighted that Professor Tim Spector has been recognised for his important and valuable contribution to COVID-19 research, and for his major contributions over several decades in fields as diverse as genomics, the microbiome, and societal determinants of health. He has also been a wonderful communicator about science to the community.

“We would like to express our sincere congratulations on this well-deserved award. Tim’s work has significantly contributed to our understanding of COVID-19 which is key to the global efforts to control this disease.”

The TwinsUK COVID-19 research study is funded by King’s College London, ZOE Global Ltd, the CDRF charity, and our BRC.