Recent events in the U.S. have raised concerns about the safety and security of research with hazardous microbial agents, particularly with regard to the insider threat. The anthrax letters of 2001 and several technical surprises in legitimate infectious disease research, led to a series of high-level committee recommendations on safety and security of the ongoing work. When a scientist from a U.S. military high-containment laboratory was implicated in the anthrax letters case, the president and congress called for more regulation. Subsequently, a series of steps to reduce the risk have been proposed: from armed guards, pathogen accountability and medical and psychological exams for scientists to training, ethical frameworks, codes of conduct and standards of quality research. Franz will discuss the implications of these events on both security and productive research in support of public health and the life-sciences enterprise, and the important role of leadership and culture in enhancing both safety and security.
About the speaker: Dave Franz is a Vice President and Chief Biological Scientist at MRIGlobal. He served in the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command for 23 of 27 years on active duty and retired as Colonel. He served as Commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) and as Deputy Commander of the Medical Research and Materiel Command. Prior to joining the Command, he served as Group Veterinarian for the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne). Dr. Franz was Technical Editor for the Textbook of Military Medicine on Medical Aspects of Chemical and Biological Warfare released in 1997. He serves on numerous national committees and boards. Dr. Franz holds an adjunct appointment as Professor for the Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University. The current focus of his activities relates to the role of international engagement in the life sciences as a component of national security policy.