It would be remiss to describe Chris Toumazou’s path to professorship as anything other than unconventional. Make that highly unconventional. “My education wasn’t fantastic,” Toumazou says as he welcomes CNN to the stylish South Kensington campus of Imperial College London, where he is based. “But maybe that makes me more intuitive,” he says.

Toumazou left school at the age of 16 with few academic qualifications to his name. Back then, he’d never seen the inside of a lab or even been acquainted with a Bunsen burner. Yet that hasn’t prevented the now 54-year-old racking up a remarkable record of innovation in the period since. He is now Regius Professor — meaning his title was given by Royal appointment — of Engineering at Imperial College London where he also heads-up the Center for Bio-inspired Technology. FULL REPORT