PAPER People: Ara Katz and Raja Dhir
PAPER People

PAPER People: Ara Katz and Raja Dhir

Nestled in LA's Venice neighborhood may just be the key to boosting our gut health — and saving our planet's future. Seed Health, founded by Ara Katz and Raja Dhir, is a multi-dimensional scientific enterprise that starts with a focus — you could even call it an obsession — on bacteria and its myriad benefits for our health and our environment. Seed's main area of inquiry is on the human microbiome and, to that end, Katz, Dhir and their team have developed cutting edge — and scientficially-tested — synbiotics (combination prebiotics and probiotics) that promote the growth of healthy gut microbiome and overall digestive health. Not content to stop there, the co-founders have assembled a diverse team of scientists, doctors, designers and entrepreneurs around the world to study everything from the best ways to create sustainable packaging for their products to the development of bacteria with capabilities like boosting honeybees' immune systems or degrading plastic waste. Just like the trillions of bacteria that work in concert with one another to do wonders for humans' microbiomes, so too does Seed prove that with the right mix of diverse entities working together, complex and awe-inspiring systems can flourish that make our bodies – and our ecosystem – a lot more resilient. — Abby Schreiber

(On Ara) Coat: Kassl, Dress: Maison Margiela (On Raja) Jumpsuit: Dzojchen

What has been your best night out?

Raja: 70 feet under water, 25 hours by boat off the coast of California, tracking a pregnant great white shark.

What's something no one knows about you but you wish people did?

Ara: How often I'm moved to tears.

What's the most stressful thing about being you?

Raja: 200+ days of travel each year.

What's something you wish no one knew about you but everyone does?

Ara: That I'm a perfectionist.

Where do you want to be when the world ends?

Raja: In space.

What's the most stressful thing about being you?

Ara: I decided stress was overrated in my 20's.

What's your worst date story?

Raja: She kept insisting Jupiter was in retrograde.

When you want to get attention, what do you do?

Ara: Great work.

What's the last screenshot you took?

Raja: A picture of a rare tribal trickster god sculpture I've been tracking down for several years.

What gives you hope in 2019?

Ara: Gen Z's passion for climate change, Reddit and synthetic biology.

Photographer: Brian Ziff
Stylist: Sarah Toshiko West
Hair: Rena Calhoun
Loren Canby