Simone summer

  • The emergence of zoonoses
  • How do environmental changes affect animal and human health?
  • Geist Heidelberg, Lecture

Swine flu, Ebola, SARS and now Covid-19 – all these infectious diseases originated in animals and are so-called zoonoses. But how is it that pathogens cross the species barrier and jump from animals to humans?

Scientific studies show that humans, with their lifestyle, are significantly involved in the emergence of new pandemics. Environmental degradation, climate change, globalization, increasing population density, the consumption of wild animal meat and factory farming facilitate the emergence of zoonoses.
Originally, humans and animals coexisted peacefully with a whole range of pathogens to which they adapted in the course of their evolution. But disturbed environmental conditions are constantly opening up new possibilities for contact and transmission.

For Prof. Simone Sommer, an expert on zoonoses, it is clear that species, environmental and climate protection must be given greater priority – not least in the interests of our own health.

Sommer is director of the Institute for Evolutionary Ecology and Conservation Genomics at the University of Ulm. Research stays have already taken her to Madagascar, Namibia, South Africa, the USA, Brazil and Panama, among other places.

As part of the International Science Festival – Geist Heidelberg


Unfortunately, the event has to be cancelled. Purchased tickets can be refunded via the respective advance booking office.