Track award Food & Nutrition, Best Presentation, Best Poster, and 5 additional awards
PHOCUS: Throughout history, there are records of locust plagues afflicting human cities. Early records like decorations of ancient Egyptian tombs and pyramid texts show the devastation that locusts are capable of. Even in the year 2020 massive locust swarms are threatening the food security of communities and cities in East Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Devastating thousands of hectares of croplands and pasture. This current outbreak is the worst in recent decades and represents a crisis that will continue for several weeks as new bands of swarms are continuously forming. This year due to the COVID19 pandemic the border shutdowns have restricted the delivery of pesticides to the countries in need.
PHOCUS team has strived to contribute to a solution both in and out of the lab. Their technical approach involves using bacteriophages and synthetic biology to aid in combating the locust crisis. Human practices involve engaging with a diverse range of stakeholders to learn from them to best contribute to finding a solution while implementing their advice in the lab. PHOCUS aimed to create awareness and instigate action around the world.