UCL Division of Biosciences


CBER External Seminar - Professor Simon Frost, Microsoft, US

05 December 2022, 1:00 pm–2:00 pm

Title: 'Microsoft Premonition: Scalable monitoring of the environment through biological weather stations'

Event Information

Open to

UCL staff | UCL students | UCL alumni




Amy Godfrey



Abstract: Through a network of robotic sensing platforms coupled with cloud-computing analytics, Microsoft Premonition (http://microsoft.com/premonition) aims to continuously monitor the environment to detect potential pathogens before they cause outbreaks. I will discuss how we have developed 'biological weather stations' that lure and autonomously identify mosquito species in real time using artificial intelligence, some of the challenges in both hardware and software in developing a connected platform, and early results from deploying these devices in the field in the United States and Nepal. I will demonstrate how mosquitoes may be considered as ‘flying syringes’ to conduct surveillance not only of vector-borne and mosquito-specific viruses, but also xenosurveillance of emerging viruses through metagenomics. Cloud-based analytics of epidemiological data in addition to genomic data can also be used to provide real-time insights into epidemiological trends, such as seasonal and spatial hotspots of infectious diseases such as West Nile Virus and Lassa Fever, as well as insights into ecological trends in insect communities that may be impacted by climate change.

About the Speaker

Professor Simon Frost

at Microsoft, US

Prof. Simon Frost is Professor of Pathogen Dynamics at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), UK, and a Principal Data Scientist at Microsoft Health Futures, Redmond, US. He trained in zoology at Cambridge and Oxford, focusing on population dynamics and genetics, and trained as a postdoc in Oxford, Princeton, Edinburgh and UC San Diego on the evolution and dynamics of infectious disease. Prior to joining Microsoft, he was a professor in the Dept. of Veterinary Medicine in Cambridge, with a One Health research focus, and a Turing Fellow at The Alan Turing Institute, where we worked on improving access to infectious disease modeling. He has extensive international collaborations with researchers in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, Indonesia, and the Philippines.