Professor James Logan (Head of the Department of Disease Control at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Director of ARCTEC) has given a public talk on innovative methods for detecting and controlling diseases at the TEDxLondon ‘Beyond Borders’ event on Saturday 18th May.

Speakers were invited to discuss how they were pushing boundaries in areas including environment, science, technology, mental health, data security and privacy.

With more than 2,500 people in the live audience, Professor Logan’s talk focused on research (co-led by ARCTEC) into how the sense of smell of insects and other animals can be used to develop novel methods to detect and control diseases.

He explained that mosquitoes can actually detect the smell of malaria-infected humans, and find it significantly more attractive than uninfected human odour. Professor Logan also revealed the exciting prospect that dogs can be trained to detect the smell of malaria (with a live demonstration from our partner, Medical Detection Dogs).

Professor Logan concluded his talk with a look towards future possibilities – where novel tools, such as a smartwatch, could be developed to detect key “odour signatures” in humans when they are infected with malaria, based on the chemicals detected by dogs and other animals. And the likelihood is, this could be done for many other diseases too.

The event was livestreamed on the day, but you can watch back Professor Logan’s fascinating talk on the TEDxLondon youtube channel –

With over 60 million monthly viewers, TED is the perfect platform to share the ground-breaking techniques and tools being developed for use in the fight against the world’s most deadly diseases with a global mass audience.