THE co-founder of a North-East biotechnology firm received an OBE in the Queen's New Year Honours.
Elaine Warburton, chief executive of QuantuMDx Group was recognised for services to health innovation in the last 25 years.
Mrs Warburton was celebrated for her work in driving forward the Newcastle-based firm's work on DNA diagnosis to detect infectious diseases and cancer within minutes.
The 50-year-old has devoted her life to the health sector after watching her mother's brave battle against breast and ovarian cancer, working to improve technologies to deliver earlier diagnosis and improve people's lives.
After working across the world in laboratories and clinics in Europe, the US, Singapore and Africa as well as nursing and hospital roles, she set up up three start-up businesses to address major health issues such as back pain and early cancer diagnosis, before founding QuantuMDx in 2008.
She said: “Receiving an OBE is such an amazing honour and recognition of your efforts is immensely humbling.
“Since a young age, it has always been my desire to play a role in shaping healthcare so that it delivers the very best technologies and services to anyone irrespective of where they live in the world.
“When my aunt married into Lord William Beveridge’s family, I read his research papers on his vision of equal access to healthcare and justice for all that were subsequently to provide the infrastructure for Britain’s National Health Service and Welfare State founded in 1948.
“That had a profound effect on me and I realised that in order to achieve health equality the rule book had to not only be re-written, re-designed but also future-proofed.
“While I have had my fair share of knocks and scrapes over the years, which have given me greater insights into successfully commercialising technologies, I have always been blessed with highly supportive and loving family and friends and wonderful colleagues, particularly within QuantuMDx.
“They not only share my vision, but are highly inventive, hard working, full of fun and an absolute joy to work with.”
QuantuMDx developing a low cost hand-held device for 15-minute diagnosis of disease at the patient’s side, for commercialisation in 2015.
The equipment reads DNA and converts it into binary coding, and the firm says it can quickly detect and monitor emerging drug resistance of infectious diseases such as malaria and HIV enabling the immediate prescription of the most effective drug.
The North-East's business sector was also represented in the New Year Honours by Dr Arnab Basu, chief executive of airport scanner firm Kromek.
Dr Basu was recognised for services to regional development and international trade.
Kromek, based at Netpark, in Sedgefield, County Durham, is best known for pioneering a scanner that can identify liquids in bottles, including explosives, alcohol and narcotics, without them being opened, in less than 20 seconds.
Its technology is already used by nine UK airports, including Durham Tees Valley, near Darlington, and last month the firm revealed it had been asked to supply airports in Portugal, Cyprus and Belgium.