NutraCast: Ara Katz of Seed Health

By Danielle Masterson

- Last updated on GMT

NutraCast: Ara Katz of Seed Health

Related tags seed university Gut microbiome synbiotics nutracast personalized health

Seed health is a biotech startup that’s developing novel uses of bacteria to improve human and planetary health. Seed’s co-founder and co-CEO joined the NutraCast to discuss her work, describing how she got here, where she’s headed, and what legacy she hopes to leave behind.

“When I understood microbes in the microbiome, which I really discovered mostly kind of coincidentally when I became pregnant, I think that for me was like that was the ’zero to one’ that was like the aha moment that like for the rest of my career I could spend waking up everyday learning and believing that there was kind of a new way to understand the body and certainly a new area to harness to make a huge impact in human health particularly for areas where there are currently no good solutions,”​ explained Katz. 

The company recently announced the acquisition of AI company Auggi as Seed prepares to launch its first digital product. 

Using the technology, Seed is requesting volunteers send in pictures of their stool as they build a database of poop for artificial intelligence to train on. The aim is for Auggi to identify stool and distinguish ailments based on photos citizen scientists send in.

“I think poop in general is a very stigmatized data point that literally gets flushed down the toilet every day, but we know that you know GI health and digestive health are really important biomarkers, not too dissimilar to things like sleep that have been really ignored and because of the stigmatization.”

Seed plans to launch its first consumer-focused digital product utilizing the AI and stool database this year, and is also currently testing a companion tracking and educational experience for its flagship synbiotic, DS-01, to improve adherence, outcomes, and retention.

“We're probably going to launch the first iteration of it in May — at least that's the current plan and I think that that will be kind of open source for anyone to use and then we're also experimenting with how some of the tracking capabilities and that feedback loop also really helps and enhances the experience with with our existing daily symbiotic," ​Katz said. 

To hear more about Seed Health, how many images they acquired through their citizen scientist campaign, and why Katz said probiotics deserve the bad press, listen to the NutraCast. 

You can also subscribe on iTunes​, Spotify ​, Stitcher​ and Google Podcasts​. 

NutraCast is a podcast that focuses on insights from inside the nutrition industry. It is a production by NutraIngredients-USA. Music by Kevin Macleod.

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