FBI call on NAS [National Academy of Sciences] to study anthrax case
“The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has provided the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) with a list of 15 questions that it wants the academy to consider in its review of the scientific evidence in the FBI's case against Bruce Ivins, the Army microbiologist implicated in the anthrax letter attacks of 2001. Besides asking whether the genomic analysis carried out to trace the source of the anthrax was valid, the questions address aspects such as the source of silicon found in the spores and whether the attacker needed specialized equipment to grind the spores into an easily dispersible powder.” (Physics Today; 06Oct08) http://blogs.physicstoday.org/newspicks/2008/10/fbi_call_on_nas_to_study_anthr.html
Sand Springs [Oklahoma] police, firefighter, get high-tech tools for safety
“Sand Springs' emergency workers have a few new high-tech tools to keep the public safe, thanks to a Department of Homeland Security grant. […] The Sand Springs Fire Department was awarded $31,000 to buy an Ahura Defender, said Deputy Fire Chief Tom Jenkins. […] About the size of a hardback book, it can analyze potentially hazardous materials, and provide a near-instantaneous ID of what firefighter might be facing, Jenkins said. The Defender can ‘see’ through clear or translucent containers to identify a substance, reducing risk to first responders, Jenkins said. The device is portable, and manufactured to military ruggedness requirements, meaning it can be taken into ‘hot zones,’ something the department's current, large analyzer could not do. ‘The machine can detect, ID, and give direction on how to handle explosives, toxic industrial chemicals, and chemical warfare agents, as well as common white powders,’ Jenkins said.” (Sand Springs Leader; 06Oct08; Dustin Hughes)
Biotechs race for new vaccine; government bid calls for improved anthrax shot
“PharmAthene of Annapolis [MD] and Emergent BioSolutions of Rockville [MD] have each spent millions of dollars to answer the government's latest call to develop and supply a better anthrax vaccine, a genetically modified version that produces robust immunity in fewer shots with lessened side effects. By employing newer vaccine technology, the government aims to eventually replace BioThrax, the first and only anthrax vaccine, licensed in 1970 and now owned by Emergent. […] Both Emergent and PharmAthene have made substantial investments in developing a new anthrax vaccine, part of their arsenals of biodefense products vying for government money.” (Washington Post; 06Oct08; Kendra Marr) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2008/10/05/AR2008100501933.html
Toxic exposure the issue: Indiana national guard soldiers were exposed to a cancer-causing toxin.
“[…] [I]t now appears that some Indiana National Guard soldiers were exposed to a highly toxic chemical in Iraq in 2003 during the early months of the current U.S. invasion and occupation. A total of 139 soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 152nd Infantry, based in Jasper, Ind., and Tell City, Ind., were stationed in Basra, Iraq, guarding a water treatment plant. […] [T]he Qarmat Ali treatment plant was strewn with an orange-colored dust.
Despite assurances it was only a ‘mild irritant,’ the substance turned out to be a highly toxic industrial chemical, sodium dichromate, which is used to remove corrosion from pipes. Amid dust storms, it likely was impossible for Indiana soldiers […] to avoid breathing in the toxin or getting it on their skin. Sodium dichromate is a known carcinogen that has been linked to cancers of the lungs and respiratory tract.” (Red Orbit; 04Oct08) http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1577579/toxic_exposure_the_issue_indiana_national_guard_soldiers_were_exposed/
[Illinois] company fined for chemical precursor exports
“An Illinois company will pay a $115,000 fine for exporting a potential chemical weapons precursor material to three nations without obtaining the necessary license, the U.S. Commerce Department announced Friday. Nalco Co. of Naperville acknowledged that between April 2003 and September 2006 it made 13 illegal shipments of the chemical solution triethanolamine to Angola, the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic. The material falls under U.S. chemical/biological, antiterrorism and chemical weapons controls as it ‘can be used as a precursor for toxic agents,’ according to a Commerce Department press release. ‘Chemicals that are controlled for antiterrorism and chemical weapon reasons can be very dangerous if they fell into the wrong hands,’ Assistant Commerce Secretary Darryl Jackson said in the release. ‘Therefore, exporters need to be vigilant of where their products are being sent and who they are being sent to.’” (Global Security Newswire; 03Oct06; Source: Nuclear Threat Initiative).
Assistant Professor, International Security
George Mason University, Department of Public and International Affairs invites applicants for a tenure-track Assistant Professor position with expertise in biosecurity for the fall of 2009.
Candidates should hold a Ph.D. in political science, public policy, Public health or other relevant degree. Candidates should have excellent teaching and advising skills, as well as demonstrated potential for excellence in research, and an ability to seek outside research funding. The department is especially interested in candidates who can conduct research and teach graduate-level courses in the fields of biosecurity, biosurveillance, dual-use research oversight, global health security, and/or the security implications of infectious disease. Other interests in international law and organization, research methodology, globalization, Homeland Security or comparative politics are a plus. ABDs will be considered, but Ph.D. is strongly preferred.
The Department of Public and International Affairs has a core faculty of
42 and offers M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in biodefense; bachelor's, M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in political science; and a master's of public administration. The candidate will be based in the department's Biodefense Graduate Program. The department is located on the Fairfax campus in Northern Virginia, 15 miles west of Washington, D.C., and offers classes at the Arlington and Prince William campuses as well. For more information, visit http://pia.gmu.edu.
Applicants must apply online and attach their letter of interest and a CV on the Web at http://jobs.gmu.edu/ for position F8845z. Additionally, applicants should also mail examples of research publications, an official university transcript, teaching evaluations or other evidence of teaching effectiveness, and three letters of recommendation. Review of applications will begin on October 20, 2008.
Submit applications to Robert Dudley,
Department of Public and International Affairs, George Mason University, 3300 University Drive-MSN 3F4, Fairfax, VA 22030-4444.
George Mason University is an equal opportunity employer. Women and minority candidates are particularly encouraged to apply.
CNS ChemBio-WMD Terrorism News is prepared by the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in order to bring timely and focused information to researchers and policymakers interested in the fields of chemical, biological, and radiological weapons nonproliferation and WMD terrorism.