Updates

Center For Health Security Publishes First Working Definition of Global Catastrophic Biological Risks

The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security published the first working definition of Global Catastrophic Biological Risks (GCBRs) to place new focus on a special category of biological risks that have received limited research and effort given their potential for harm to humanity: future flu pandemics, novel strains of contagious pathogens, biological accidents, threats to food supplies, or artificial organisms.

Emergent BioSolutions Awarded $23 Million to Develop Novel Multi-Drug Auto-Injector for U.S. Department of Defense

Emergent BioSolutions Inc. announced that it has been awarded approximately $23 million to develop a novel multi-drug auto-injector for nerve agent antidote delivery. Emergent’s device is being designed for intramuscular self- or buddy-administration of antidotes for use in military environments and for civilian emergencies.

New Phase Change Mechanism Could Lead to New Class of Chemical Vapor Sensors

An interdisciplinary team of scientists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory demonstrated that monolayer 2D Transition Metal Dichalcogenides – atomically thin semiconductors – undergo a change from semiconductor-to-metallic phase when exposed to airborne chemical vapors. The team validated evidence of the phase transition and how the behavior can be used to create an entirely new class of chemical vapor sensors.

DHS S&T Selects Cyber Apex Solutions for Applied Cybersecurity Research

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate awarded a five-year Other Transaction Agreement, with a maximum value of $70 million, to Cyber Apex Solutions LLC, which is based in Arlington, Virginia. This contract will fund testing, evaluation, and transition of prototype cybersecurity technologies that will reduce risk of cyberattacks to critical infrastructure sectors.

TSA Raising Aviation Security Baseline With Stronger Domestic Security Measures

To ensure the security of airline passengers and the nation’s airports, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is implementing new, stronger screening procedures for carry-on items that require travelers to place all electronics larger than a cellphone in bins for X-ray screening in standard lanes.

DHS S&T Assesses Mitigation Tactics Against Jamming

The 2017 First Responder Electronic Jamming Exercise was hosted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) July 16-22. Nearly 100 federal, state, and local public safety and private organizations gathered to test tactics and technologies to identify, locate, and mitigate illegal jamming of communications systems. 

Making Flood Forecasting Easier, Faster

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s First Responders Group has partnered with the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) to develop a new Internet of Things (IoT) sensor technology and geo-targeting alerts that aim to help first responders to better respond to flood events, resulting in saving more lives and property faster.

DHS S&T Awards VTO Inc. $928K for Drone Forensics R&D

To increase law enforcement capabilities to identify, collect, and analyze evidentiary data from consumer and professional drones, the Department of Homeland Security  (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has awarded a research-and-development contract to VTO Inc. of Broomfield, Colorado. The award is part of the S&T Cyber Security Division’s Cyber Forensics project.

50-Year-Old Flu Virus Model Revamped, Revealing Pandemic Prediction Possibilities

A University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine team discovers that a model of the influenza genome architecture untouched since the 1970s is not so perfect after all. The discovery reveals loopholes in the way the virus packages its genetic material, which could give scientists the opportunity to better predict pandemics and find new ways to disrupt the flu virus.

Space Station Project Seeks to Crystalize the Means to Counteract Nerve Poisons

The microgravity conditions of the International Space Station (ISS) may hold the key to improving our understanding of how to combat toxic nerve agents such as sarin and VX. That is the hope of Countermeasures Against Chemical Threats (CounterACT) project that is part of an initiative at the National Institutes of Health aimed at developing improved antidotes for chemical agents.