ISMB/ECCB 2021 - Distinguished Keynote
Chair of Ecology and Biodiversity
Genetics, Evolution & Environment
University College London
Introduced by: Thomas Lengauer, ISCB Past-President
Presentation Title: Our Planet, Our Health - Ecosystem approaches to forecasting zoonotic diseases
Today we live longer and more prosperous lives than ever before, as a species we have made huge advances to create conditions for better health for billions of people, however this progress is taking a heavy toll on the planet's natural systems. I will explore the links and interdependencies between our health and the health of our planet with particular reference to understanding how rapid global environmental change impacts the emergence and spread of high impact infectious diseases like Ebola or Covid. I will discuss how recent advances in the resolution and coverage of remote-sensing satellite data and cutting-edge machine-learning algorithms open up the possibilities of developing global early warning systems to prevent and manage future epidemics.
Kate Jones is Professor of Ecology and Biodiversity in the Centre for Biodiversity and Environmental Research (CBER), within the Research Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment (GEE) at University College London. Kate has held appointments at the University of Cambridge, Columbia University, Imperial College London, and is an honorary fellow at the Zoological Society of London. Kate is one of the academic leads for UCL's new EAST campus in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park London opening in 2022, directing a new applied ecology group - the Nature-Smart Research Centre. Kate has written over 100 articles and book chapters in prestigious journals such as Nature and Science and is a scientific advisor for a number of international biodiversity charities and chaired The Bat Conservation Trust for 5 years, and won the Leverhulme Prize for outstanding contributions to Zoology in 2008. Kate regularly appears in the national and international media, including the Life Scientific on BBC Radio 4 in 2015. Allegedly*, Charles Darwin is her 8th cousin (6 times removed)