Professor Dennis Lo FRS

Dennis Lo is a chemical pathologist who completely changed thinking on prenatal diagnosis by discovering that it was possible to pick up an unborn baby’s DNA and RNA in cell-free form from maternal blood. This development created a paradigm shift in prenatal medicine.

He was able to elucidate the fundamental biology of this phenomenon. He then developed multiple prenatal tests based on this technology that are now in widespread use around the world, including tests that allow robust prenatal and noninvasive testing for trisomy 21 — the chromosomal disorder responsible for Down syndrome. More recently, Dennis has shown that the foetal genome, methylome and transcriptome can all be sequenced from maternal blood.

Dennis has won many awards for his work, including the 2014 King Faisal International Prize in Medicine. He is also a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of The World Academy of Sciences.

Professional position

  • Director, Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences, Chinese University Of Hong Kong

Subject groups

  • Health and human sciences

    Molecular medicine


  • Royal Medals

    For the discovery of foetal DNA in maternal plasma, developing non-invasive prenatal testing, and making foundational contributions for other types of liquid biopsies. He has made a major impact on pre-natal diagnosis.