Could the solution to one of the world’s biggest killers already exist in nature? Professor James Logan answers this question, by demonstrating a surprising new way we can help diagnose and stop the spread of malaria, with help from animals. Animals are nature’s disease detectives. James reveals how the incredible power of animal olfaction (their sense of smell) can detect malaria without any invasive tests, and with a spectacular live demonstration from Freya the malaria-detection dog, you can see exactly how this exciting new diagnostic technique works. He then describes how we could harness the power of animal olfaction in a smartwatch, which would revolutionise the way we tackle deadly diseases and track their spread in the future. Professor James Logan is a scientist, television presenter and internationally renowned research leader, with a passion for science and natural history. He is Head of the Department of Disease Control at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Founder and Director of ARCTEC and Vecotech, two biotech companies. James researches technologies for the control of diseases transmitted by insects, including malaria, Zika and dengue. His work spans from discovery and innovation in the lab, to large scale research involving implementation and evaluation of disease interventions in a number of countries globally. James is a specialist in chemical ecology, exploring how odour can be used to manipulate the behaviour of insects. Currently, he is exploring how animals can be used as biosensors to detect odours associated with disease. James has presented a variety of television programmes for the BBC and Channel 4, including the award winning Embarrassing Bodies. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

James Logan

Scientist, researcher and television presenter

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