september 2016


U.S. Navy Transfers New Decontamination Technology to Small Business for Distribution to Warfighters and First Responders

The U.S. Navy signed an exclusive license agreement with First Line Technology LLC to permit the manufacture of a lifesaving decontamination technology. The “Dahlgren Decon” solution – developed to defend warfighters and first responders against chemical, biological, and radiological agents – is protected under several patents by Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division.


Experimental Zika Virus DNA Vaccines Protective in Monkeys

Two experimental Zika virus DNA vaccines developed by National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists protected monkeys against Zika infection after two doses. One of those vaccines is being evaluated in a Phase 1 human trial now under way in three U.S. locations to evaluate the vaccine's safety and ability to generate immune responses in people.


Addressing Threats – From Concept to Field

by Catherine L. Feinman -

To address various national threats and the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) role in military and civilian defense technology, DomPrep hosted a roundtable discussion on 21 July 2016 at the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC). That discussion, which was moderated by ECBC’s BioScience Division Chief Peter Emanuel, brought together professionals from various disciplines and is summarized in this article.


Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense Receives $1.3 Million Grant to Advance Leadership Role on Critical Issues of National Security

The Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense announced it has received a $1.3 million grant from the Open Philanthropy Project. The grant will allow the Study Panel to continue its leadership role in assessing our nation's biodefense systems, issuing recommendations and advocating for their implementation, and informing policymakers and lawmakers on viable avenues for needed change.


PAHO Creates New Health Emergencies Program

Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director Carissa Etienne has announced that PAHO is creating a new PAHO Health Emergencies Department that aligns with the new World Health Organization Health Emergencies program. The program brings together the Department of Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief, the Unit of International Health Regulations/Epidemic Alert and Response, and Water Borne Diseases.


Sea-Level Rise and US Coasts: Science and Policy Considerations

Policymakers are interested in sea-level rise because of the risk to coastal populations and infrastructure and the consequences for coastal species and ecosystems. This report describes the phenomenon of sea-level rise, the types of effects that sea-level rise can have on U.S. coasts, and provides a primer on policy considerations. 

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DHS Centers of Excellence Create Future Problem Solvers

Focusing on the future does not just mean focusing on the technology, research, and development at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T). For S&T, focusing on the future also includes the specialized research and education programs at the university-based DHS Centers of Excellence.


The Danger of Not Keeping Up With Technological Advances

by Melissa Moses -

The internet has revolutionized the way modern populations live their lives. From communication to commerce, the internet has changed the way people fundamentally operate. This extends to the life sciences as well. Technology and equipment once only found in research laboratories or universities can now be ordered online and shipped direct to the purchaser’s doorstep.


NIH Collaboration Helps Advance Potential Zika Treatments

Researchers at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), which is part of the National Institutes of Health, recently identified compounds that potentially can be used to inhibit Zika virus replication and reduce its ability to kill brain cells. These compounds now can be studied by the broader research community to help combat the Zika public health crisis.


Hazard Detection: “Bring Your Own Protection”

by Kathryn Laskey -

Current approaches for ensuring public safety rely on expensive and obtrusive equipment and procedures having limited availability and inadequate performance. Newly emerging wearable sensors have the potential to spark a fundamental change in this equation. Researchers at George Mason University are investigating a new concept called “Bring Your Own Protection” (BYOP).


X-Ray Vision: Bomb Techs Strengthen Their Hand With Sandia

The X-Ray Toolkit (XTK), an image-processing and analysis software developed at Sandia National Laboratories has swept the ranks of the country’s bomb squads. XTK has spread through the military and emergency response communities and is now in the hands of more than 20,000 users around the globe.


New Alert System Aims to Protect Responders (and Drivers) at Roadway Incident Scenes

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s First Responders Group (FRG) awarded a 24-month project to Applied Research Associates Inc., a company based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to develop technology that reduces dangerous vehicle strikes on first responders. The project will integrate existing technologies into a system that can be easily deployed.


Disinfection of Biological Agents in the Field Using a Mobile Advanced Oxidation Process

The Office of Research and Development’s National Homeland Security Research Center (NHSRC), part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), published a new study of biological agent disinfection in the field using a mobile advanced oxidation process.

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Setting a Safe Course for Gene Editing Research

A new Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program could help unlock the potential of advanced gene-editing technologies by developing a set of tools to address potential risks of this rapidly advancing field. The Safe Genes program envisions addressing key safety gaps by using those tools to restrict or reverse the propagation of engineered genetic constructs.


Major Themes From the 2016 Aspen Security Forum

by Erik S. Gaull -

The 2016 Aspen Security Forum was held from July 27 to July 30 in Aspen, Colorado. Over the past seven years, the forum, hosted by the Aspen Institute, has earned a well-deserved reputation as the most important venue for thought leadership in the homeland and national security arenas, attracting distinguished speakers and high-level attendees from around the world. This year's forum was no exception.


A Conversation That Should Have Happened

by William H. Austin -

Appointment to an emergency management position is a proud moment as well as a moment that creates doubt, anxiety, and internal questioning of one's own ability to handle a major catastrophe. Questions arise about the community's hazards awareness, the status of the local emergency operations plan, and the proverbial, "What keeps you up at night?" scenario.


EPA Adds Sites to National Priorities List to Reduce Risk to Public Health and Environment

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is adding ten and proposing to add eight more hazardous waste sites to the Superfund program’s National Priorities List (NPL). EPA adds sites to the NPL when mismanagement of contamination from a variety of sources – including manufacturing, mining, battery recycling, and dry cleaning – threatens public health and the environment.


CSU Tapped to Train First Responders on Infectious Diseases Safety

Firefighters, police officers and other first responders know how to manage many different types of emergencies, but they may not always be prepared to handle infectious diseases or biohazards like virus cultures and pathology specimens. Colorado State University was recently selected to join a five-state infectious disease training partnership led by Duke University.


Federal Agencies Join Forces to Forecast Hurricanes

Hurricane forecasters are ready for the upcoming peak of hurricane season thanks to a partnership between the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to share a high-altitude atmospheric science research plane.


CMS Finalizes Rule to Bolster Emergency Preparedness of Certain Facilities Participating in Medicare and Medicaid

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized a rule to establish consistent emergency preparedness requirements for healthcare providers participating in Medicare and Medicaid, increase patient safety during emergencies, and establish a more coordinated response to natural and manmade disasters.


ECBC Tests Chemical, Biological Sensor Integration in Utah Desert

The Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center (ECBC) recently joined with technology developers from private industry and other Army and joint organizations to test a new integrated system of chemical and biological agent sensors. These systems were tested against a variety of simulant agents to see if the sensors could correctly identify them.


Technology for Improved Public Health Preparedness & Response

by Greg Burel -

Planning the response to a public health emergency can be a daunting endeavor. Many factors in multiple complex systems contribute to the potential for success in executing these plans at every level of the response. Preparedness planners have to consider these many factors to ensure that their plans can work despite potential failure points.


Military Health Leaders Say That DoD's Investment in Global Health Engagement Continues to Grow

Global health engagement is an important security cooperation tool, building relationships and improving interoperability with partner nations around the world. Senior leaders and experts from across the Military Health System (MHS) came together to discuss the topic during a session at the annual MHS Research Symposium on 16 August.


Scientists Screen Existing Drugs in Hopes of Fast-Tracking Zika Treatment

A specialized drug screen test using laboratory-grown human cells has revealed two classes of compounds already in the pharmaceutical arsenal that may work against mosquito-borne Zika virus infections, scientists say. Some 6,000 existing compounds currently in late-stage clinical trials or already approved for human use for other conditions were screened as Zika treatment options.


Ushering in a New Generation of Low-Cost, Networked, Nuclear-Radiation Detectors

A Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program aimed at preventing attacks involving radiological "dirty bombs" and other nuclear threats has developed and demonstrated a network of smartphone-sized mobile devices that can detect traces of radioactive materials. Combined with larger detectors, these networked devices significantly enhance awareness of radiation sources.


NIST Study Provides Voice for Evacuation Needs of Mobility Impaired

A new study conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) provides guidance for building designers, facility managers, safety officers, emergency personnel, and others tasked with developing and implementing emergency evacuation procedures for people with mobility impairments from multistory buildings.