A conversation on the connections between human, plant, and animal health 

July 04 2023

a farmer walking on a street herding sheep

Everyone’s health is connected, and the connections between people, animals, and the environment can determine the health of the whole planet. At this year’s SynBioBeta Conference, a three-day summit delving into the many topics in and around synthetic biology, our Head of Lab Network Partnerships, Karen Hogan, joined proto.life Founder Jane Metcalfe and Stanford Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) Fellow Melissa Salm for a conversation about global health and why biosecurity research, surveillance, and governance is crucial for the health of everyone. 

Building a global biosecurity infrastructure

At a panel titled “Building a Global Radar for One Health,” Hogan discussed Ginkgo’s history and approach to scaling wastewater monitoring biosurveillance tools and programs, including the Traveler-Based Genomic Surveillance Program, beginning with testing for Sars-CoV-2 during the COVID-19 pandemic until now. Looking beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, Hogan outlined the importance of multi-pathogen surveillance and how Concentric is building upon its programs. 

“This is a chance to be really creative,” said Hogan. She explained that Ginkgo’s network is looking for where pathogens exist in humans, animals, and the environment, and where they mix so that we can see where disease transmission and spread is happening. “If you can get the genomic data out there, you can begin to prepare the public health officials,” Hogan explained. 

“[Biosecurity] is like a heartbeat, and we should be monitoring the world’s heartbeat at all times,” she said.

Watch the full discussion to hear more about Ginkgo’s biosecurity initiatives.

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