Toggle light / dark theme
2020 GEO SDG Award for CirroLytix

MANILA, Philippines — A Filipino startup is recognized globally in developing a dengue hotspot prediction system using satellite and climate data in the 2020 Group on Earth Observations Sustainable Development Goals (GEO SDG) Awards for the Sectoral category, For-Profit. The GEO SDG Awards recognize the productivity, ingenuity, proficiency, novelty, and exemplary communications of results and experiences in the use of Earth observations to support sustainable development.

CirroLytix Research Services was formed to create social impact through big data. Through the application of machine learning, data engineering, remote sensing, and social listening, the Philippines-based data analytics firm hopes to help governments, researchers, non-government organizations (NGO), and social enterprises achieve positive change. The Advanced Early Dengue Prediction and Exploration Service (Project AEDES) is one of the CirroLytix’s flagship projects developed during the 2019 National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) International Space Apps Challenge. It combines digital, climate, and remote sensing to nowcast dengue trends and detect mosquito habitats to help pre-empt cases of dengue. Project AEDES process leverages normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), Fraction of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation (FAPAR), and normalized difference water index (NDWI) readings from Landsat and Sentinel-2 to estimate still water areas on the ground, which is correlated with dengue case counts from national health centers.

The Advanced Early Dengue Prediction and Exploration Service (Project AEDES) combines digital, climate, and remote sensing to nowcast dengue trends and detect mosquito habitats to help pre-empt cases of dengue.

Dominic Vincent “Doc” Ligot, co-founder and chief technology officer of CirroLytix, describes Project AEDES as an “early detection of panics from online searches, anticipating case counts from environment readings, but most importantly pinpointing hotspots from mosquito habitat detection.”

The Pinoy-made dengue mapper tool won the annual international hackathon of NASA globally in the best use of data, the solution that best makes space data accessible, or leverages it to a unique application. Aside from winning last year, CirroLytix also developed an integrated public policy information portal measuring the impact of the coronavirus pandemic using Earth observation, in-country economic and human mobility data, and global infection case counts, thus winning again in the Space Apps COVID-19 Challenge for the same category in the best use of data. Named G.I.D.E.O.N. (Global Impact Detection from Emitted Light, Onset of COVID-19, and Nitrogen Dioxide), this dashboard for policy makers and economic planners shows the impact of COVID-19 on various countries and effects on the economy and environment.

With these achievements, Cirrolytix is recognized in their remarkable efforts to utilize Earth observation data to predict dengue fever cases in the Philippines in order to improve public health.

“I am glad that the GEO SDG Awards Panel has selected CirroLytix for an award, recognizing the importance of this work in developing an EO-integrated dengue case predictor mapping system,” according to Dr. Argyro Kavvada, lead for Sustainable Development Goals of the Earth Science Division, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate and executive secretary of the international Earth Observations for the Sustainable Development Goals (EO4SDG).

“These awards really could stand as an inspiration to all of us about what can be done, and what needs to be done to ensure that Earth-observations contribute to make our world a better, and more sustainable place,” said Lawrence Friedl director of the Applied Sciences Program of the Earth Science Division, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate and co-chair of EO4SDG.

2020 GEO SDG Awardees together with Dominic Vincent “Doc” Ligot, co-founder and chief technology officer of CirroLytix

The Undersecretary for Competitiveness and Innovation of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Dr. Rafaelita “Fita” M. Aldaba heartfeltly congratulates CirroLytix. “It’s indeed a blessing amid this pandemic and economic crisis that we are currently faced with,” she said.

The award-winning startup continues to update the AEDES framework to include socio-economic risk mapping to turn it into a health and environmental policy tool. Aside from dengue, the company also supports COVID-19 modeling and response initiatives with the public health sector. CirroLytix’s current involvements include public health, human rights, fighting disinformation, education and food security.

The Space Apps lead organizer in the Philippines Michael Lance M. Domagas appeals support for these Filipino winners. “How many times should these Filipino innovators and achievers need to win before being recognized and appreciated by our own country? To be recognized by not just one, but five space agencies is something has not yet been achieved by Filipinos, how much more of a multitude of countries and nations supporting the sustainable development goals of the United Nations?” He added that “The dengue epidemic and the COVID-19 is a real threat to the Philippine society right now, endangering health, well-being, livelihood, and most especially businesses and the national economy. If we could only learn how to give value to science, technology, mathematics, and engineering (STEM), the possibilities are endless. Our Filipino winners of Space Apps and GEO SDG Awards have taught us on how these space technologies greatly help in addressing epidemics and economic impact of COVID-19, its time to give them recognition and respect because they are Filipinos like us.” Winners shall be invited to visit NASA once travel is deemed safe, but unfortunately, travel, meals and incidental expenses, and accommodation expenses are not provided.

On the other hand, Cirrolytix encourages the use of data in addressing social problems and issues surrounding the Bangsamoro region. Together with the Asia Foundation and Data Ethics PH, the online Bangsamoro Data Challenge invites ages 15 years old and above to develop data-driven solutions in helping the region. Deadline for registration is on Saturday 11:59pm, November 21, 2020 at

The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) is a partnership of more than 100 national governments and in excess of 100 participating organizations that envisions a future where decisions and actions for the benefit of humankind are informed by coordinated, comprehensive and sustained Earth observations.

Bio-Security — Dr. Tara O’Toole MD, EVP and Senior Fellow at In-Q-Tel, director of B.Next, former Under Secretary for the Science and Technology Directorate at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) — ideaXme — Ira Pastor

Posted in aging, biological, biotech/medical, defense, DNA, genetics, government, health, life extension, scienceTagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment on Bio-Security — Dr. Tara O’Toole MD, EVP and Senior Fellow at In-Q-Tel, director of B.Next, former Under Secretary for the Science and Technology Directorate at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) — ideaXme — Ira Pastor

If you’re like me — you’re excited about the imminent increases to our healthspan that longevity technologies will soon offer us. However, if you want to stick around long enough to take advantage of all of the soon-to-be available lifespan and healthspan boosting technologies, you need to make sure you don’t die in the process!

How will you die? The four deadly killers

Ever since science effectively cured infectious disease through antibiotics, vaccinations and the like, there has been a distinct shift in what kills humans to the four deadly killers, which are considered ‘age related diseases’. These are — cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease, metabolic disease and cancer. If you manage to escape the most likely causes of death as a young person, which are largely accidental accidental death (mostly car accidents), homicide or mental illness related (suicide) — then it is most likely that one of those four deadly killers will end your life.

But here’s the good news — there’s a growing body of immediately actionable longevity technologies that you can engage with to offset your risk of dying of these diseases. In a series of posts on the topic, I’m going to cover a few key resources at your disposal for minimising your risk for each of these four categories. First-up, cardiovascular disease.

Deadly Killer #1Cardiovascular disease

Heart attack, stroke, thrombosis, heart failure — the chances are overwhelming that you have lost someone important to you in your life to one of these causes. It is often seemingly sudden, but in most cases, the acute cause of death by cardiovascular disease has been brewing for a very long time — decades even.

The term ‘cardiovascular’ encompasses disease of both the heart and blood vessels, which is driven by the build up and eventual displacement of plaque that accumulated in the arterial wall in a process called ‘atherosclerosis’.

It’s not my role here to explain all of the mechanisms of this disease. Instead, I want to focus on four actionable tools you can work with your doctor to obtain access to, which will help you assess your risk profile and detect any elevated risk of an acute event (e.g. heart attack, stroke) at an early, treatable stage:

1. Test your ApoB (“A-PO-B”)

Stop using your LDL-C as your primary risk assessment tool (The “LDL” value too commonly called the “bad” cholesterol), and start tracking your ApoB. ApoB is a particular type of molecule attached to the types of lipoproteins carried by your LDL (and VLDL) that are the most likely to enter the arterial wall and lead to plaque formation. You need to know *how many* of these atherogenic particles you have present in a given volume of you blood — this drives your risk. Your ApoB value is influenced by diet and lifestyle and can be controlled with pharmaceutical intervention and possibly through certain forms of supplementation.

Learn more about ApoB at Healthline.

2. Do you have elevated Lpa (”L-P-little-A”)?

Lpa is another cardiovascular disease bad guy that may be in your bloodstream. Lipoprotein-a is a particle which carries cholesterol, fats and proteins and is made by your body, and how much of it you make is inherited. Elevated levels of Lpa increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke as they are known to cause atherosclerosis. You certainly need to know if you carry the genetic risk factor, and the earlier the better (i.e. get this test done as early as possible)! Levels of Lpa don’t change much over one’s lifetime, so testing it once is enough in most cases! Know your Lpa status, and better know your risk, and whether or not you should modify your diet, lifestyle and treatment options.

Learn more about Lpa from the lipoprotein-a foundation

3. Know your Coronary Artery Calcium scan score

Coronary artery calcium (CAC) scans are created by using computed tomography (CT) scans, which are a type of X-ray scan, to detect the presence and quantity of coronary artery calcification (the warning signs of atherosclerosis).

A CAC test reveals both the location and quantity of calcium located in three of the main coronary arteries. The scan provides a score which represents your risk. The lower the better! This score will change over time, and is known to increase with age, so it is important to record it regularly (in a manner that balances the downsides of the X-ray radiation — ask your doctor what’s best for you). Atherosclerosis is a disease of ageing, and that means your risk is increasing over time. If you are aged 50 or above and have never had one — work with your doctor to get one performed.


4. Track your inflammation with C-Reactive Protein (CRP)

At its roots, atherosclerosis is known to be intimately connected with inflammation. In fact, it is often damage to the arterial wall that attracts the formation of plaque in the first place. This damage occurs over time, and is known to be increasingly likely with high blood pressure and high blood glucose levels. CRP is a very common and relatively low cost blood test that can be easily ordered up by your doctor, and should be tested annually at the very least. High levels of CRP are indicative of increased risk of cardiovascular disease, and once again can be influenced by changes in diet and exercise. If you have the option, go for the high-sensitivity CRP (hsCRP) test if possible!

Know thy risk, and save thy life!

Everything that I have discussed in this post encompasses longevity technologies that are available to you NOW. And ultimately, it is up to YOU to demand access to these technologies, in one way or another. I’d suggest that you don’t take NO for an answer, and that you allocate whatever resources (time, energy, money) you have available to assessing and managing your risk of cardiovascular disease. If you are aged 50 or older, the importance of getting each of these tests performed is exponentially more important with each decade of life!

I hope you enjoyed this post. I’ll be sure to come along with my follow-up posts on the topic of the four deadly killers in the coming weeks. In the meantime, check-out these other great Lifeboat Foundation blog posts on the topic of aging, and don’t forget to checkout the Longevity Blog on my website.

Wishing you a long and healthy life!

Dr Nick Engerer