|Contact:||Robert Duncan, 277-4507 or
Michael Padilla, 277-1816
Feb. 28, 2001
UNM hosts Biological Threat Reduction Workshop
The University of New Mexicos Center for Advanced Studies (CAS) is hosting
a Workshop on Unified Science and Technology for Biological Threat Reduction
on March 16 and 17 at Regener Hall on the UNM campus.
Robert Duncan, UNM physics & astronomy professor and visiting associate
professor in physics at Caltech (California Institute of Technology), said the
workshop will address three questions: How will we know if we are under attack?
What clues, if any, exist within our complex communications infrastructure that
such an attack will occur, or has occurred? and; What emerging technologies
exist that are relevant to our detection and response efforts?
The workshop is extremely timely, Duncan said. This national
security concern must be addressed urgently by multi-disciplinary teams of strategists,
physicians, scientists and engineers. This major biological threat requires
new sensors and systems development that push science and technology well beyond
our current limits. It is the role of the University to provide an environment
for original thought on these cross-disciplinary advanced studies.
Brig. General (select) Annette Sobel, M.D., of the National Guard Bureau and
Sandia National Laboratories, one of the nations leading scientists active
in this field of research, will serve as the Program Chair of the Workshop.
A panel of invited guest speakers will address these questions, a number of
poster presentations will be provided, and there will be open discussions.
The workshop will showcase a multi-disciplinary collaboration aimed at detecting,
identifying, and responding to potential dangers posed by biohazards. The workshop
will bring together national security strategists, faculty from leading science
and engineering departments at various universities, and staff from national
laboratories and industrial scientists working on new sensor technologies, the
underlying science, and their system integration. Emphasis will be placed on
not only the identification of novel new approaches to this critical problem,
but also on analytical system evaluations which determine sensitivity and specificity
requirements on emerging sensors.
Not every possible biological attack will be aimed at humans directly,
Duncan said. For example, terrorists supporting a rouge nation under international
economic sanctions could launch a fungal attack against our crops, potentially
devastating our economy. This and many other possible attack scenarios would
not necessarily result in an immediate armed response, since slow biological
attacks may be difficult to differentiate from a natural outbreak. New sensors
and information systems currently under development will provide critical early
detection and response.
Paper presentations are highly encouraged, and information on providing abstracts
is located at http://www.gillinghamstudios.com/duncan/.
The workshop is cosponsored by Sandia National Laboratories.
Individuals with disabilities who will need auxiliary assistance in order to participate should contact the CAS office at (505) 277-8602.
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