To recommend a code of conduct for scientists and laboratory workers that can be adopted by federal agencies, professional organizations, and institutions Mar 4, 2004, CIDRAP News story “New board to advise on ‘dual use’ research, announces HHS” Jul 1, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – The members of a new government board that will guide efforts to keep terrorists from exploiting the fruits of federally funded biotechnology research were announced this week by Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt. “The implications for the tremendous good that can be accomplished in this line of research are mind-boggling,” he said. “At the same time, the potential misapplication of this kind of research is frightening. So we have to be very careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water. We need this type of research. Therefore we must find every way we possibly can to prevent someone from using it for terrorism purposes.” Today’s session included a discussion on the chemical synthesis of bacteria and viruses, with J. Craig Venter, PhD, and other leaders in the field. Venter, founder of J. Craig Venter Institute, talked about the widespread availability of technology for synthesizing microbial DNA. “There are well over 50,000 DNA synthesizers in the world,” he commented at one point, adding that he had seen several for sale on eBay for about $5,000. To develop criteria for identifying “dual use” research—legitimate research whose results could be misused for biological warfare or bioterrorism The board will also be asked to advise the government on guidelines for publishing information about potentially sensitive research, biosecurity education programs for scientists and lab workers, local review and approval processes for dual-use research, and other issues. Venter and other speakers said that unscrupulous researchers could synthesize pathogenic bacteria or viruses and that detecting and stopping such efforts would be very difficult. He advocated focusing efforts on developing medical defenses against such pathogens. HHS officials first announced plans to establish the NSABB in March 2004. The estimated annual cost of operating the board is about $976,000, according to information on the Web site. Leavitt appointed Dennis L. Kasper, MD, of Harvard Medical School to chair the board. Kasper is director of the Channing Laboratory in the department of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. As examples of the potential benefits of “synthetic biology,” Osterholm said Venter described a project to develop bacteria that could remove carbon dioxide from the air and thus combat global warming. Venter is also working on bacteria that would produce pure hydrogen, which “could dramatically change our status as a petroleum-based economy,” Osterholm added. Jun 29 HHS news release with list of NSABB membershttp://archive.hhs.gov/news/press/2005pres/20050629.html In naming 24 people to the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB), Leavitt said in a news release, “We all realize some research that results in new medical treatments, agricultural advances, and biodefense countermeasures could end up in the hands of terrorists who could twist it for their own purposes. The NSABB will provide a forum to help educate scientists on biosecurity and a means for the federal government to receive advice on how to advance scientific knowledge without compromising security.” Announcement of the members was the prelude to the board’s first meeting, held yesterday and today in Bethesda, Md. The meeting was open to the public and was also accessible over the Internet as a live webcast. Osterholm commented after the meeting that the presentations on chemical synthesis of new microbes showed that the field has huge potential for both good and ill. The National Research Council called for creation of a board like the NSABB in its 2003 report, titled “Biotechnology Research in an Age of Terrorism: Confronting the Dual Use Dilemma.” As established, the board is somewhat different from what that report recommended, but it is intended to achieve the same goals, according to information on the board’s Web site. NSABB sitehttp://www.biosecurityboard.gov/ “If we’re not concentrating almost 100% of our efforts on providing defensive countermeasures, we’re missing the big picture here,” Venter said. “Any viral agent can be produced. We should just assume that’s possible and make sure that we have good vaccines and good vaccine development procedures to work against them.” The board is composed mostly of academic researchers but includes several private consultants, one attorney, and the head of the vaccine department at a large pharmaceutical company, Merck & Co. Among the members is Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), publisher of this Web site. See also: The board’s main tasks, according to information on the NSABB Web site, are: The board will not have authority to approve or reject specific experiments. But it will, on request, provide guidance to local “institutional biosafety committees” on specific experiments or classes of research that raise complex questions. To develop guidelines for overseeing dual-use research Oct 10, 2003, CIDRAP News story “To block terrorists, panel calls for more screening of research
Follow us on Twitter @dailytrojan A different venue and a fresh divisional opponent once again proved to be just another speed bump for the USC women’s volleyball team, which is stringing together win after win in dominating fashion.Femme fatale · Junior Hannah Schraer (center) had 10 kills in the Women of Troy’s victory over the ASU Sun Devils in Tempe, Ariz. – Ralf Cheung | Daily TrojanThe American Volleyball Coaches’ Association No. 1-ranked Women of Troy traveled to the desert this week and made quick work of rival Arizona State, beating the Sun Devils 3-0 Friday night (25-17, 25-20, 25-15) to improve to 17-1 and match the 2006 squad for the best season-opening start in school history.“It was a great win for us on our second week on the road,” USC head coach Mick Haley said. “Arizona State has had success against us and they’ve beaten us twice in the last three years at their place, so it was a good challenge for us. I thought we did a marvelous job of not letting them get the crowd into it.”Junior middle blocker Hannah Schraer provided the Women of Troy a huge lift, notching 10 kills while hitting an outstanding .769 to pace a strong USC attack. Sophomore outside hitter Samantha Bricio also added 10 kills and rode her strong serve to five more service aces, marking the eighth time this season she has recorded at least three aces in a match. Defensively, senior middle blocker Alexis Olgard and freshman outside hitter Ebony Nwanebu combined for 14 blocks, while senior libero Natalie Hagglund led all players with 10 digs.“It was a team effort. Some of the numbers weren’t good for some people, but that doesn’t tell the story in this match,” Haley said. “Nwanebu didn’t have great numbers but dominated on the right side. Bricio was really focused and on her game, and her serve was just stunning.”After taking a 13-11 lead in the first set, USC pulled away and went up 21-14 on a Bricio ace. Olgard notched a kill to bring up set point at 24-17 before causing an ASU error that sealed the first set 25-17 for the visitors. The Women of Troy recorded 12 kills and a .375 hitting percentage in the first set while holding ASU to just .111 on offense.The second set saw ASU take a 16-14 lead before USC applied the pressure to take the lead. Bricio tied things up at 16, and Nwanebu and Schraer blocked back-to-back shots for a 19-17 lead. Another USC block brought up match point at 24-20 after which the Sun Devils committed an error to conclude the set at 25-20.As has been the norm this season, the Women of Troy made the last set their easiest, winning handily by 10 points. A Schraer kill put USC up 20-10 and freshman setter Alice Pizzasegola set up Olgard for a final kill that sealed the frame 25-15 and pushed USC to 7-0 in Pac-12 play.“Arizona State was a little predictable and we executed our game plan amazingly well,” Haley said. “We’ll have a more difficult time defending against Arizona because they’re a better blocking team and they’ll try to take our setters out. We need to make sure that we’re focused and continue to execute our game plan on the road.”The Women of Troy will conclude their four-game road trip against the Arizona Wildcats Sunday afternoon before returning home to play Washington and Washington State next weekend.