The Life Sciences, Biosecurity, and Dual-Use Research

The Life Sciences, Biosecurity, and Dual-Use Research

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The New York Academy of Sciences

Organizer: Nancy Connell, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)

Speakers: Brian Rappert, University of Exeter, United Kingdom; Malcolm Dando, University of Bradford, United Kingdom

Since September 11, 2001 and the anthrax attacks that followed in the United States, public and policy concerns about the security threats posed by biological weapons have increased significantly. With this has come an expansion of activities where the wisdom of applying national security controls is being considered. As part of this, questions are being asked today regarding what novel threats might stem from life science research, how scientists can contribute to national defense, and whether some lines of investigation are too "contentious" to pursue.

As part of an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation grant, Malcolm Dando and Brian Rappert are conducting workshops for audiences of researchers. There are two aims to this seminar: to inform participants about current biosecurity debates and to generate interactive discussion about the merits of proposed policy responses.

Dr. Brian Rappert is reader in science, technology and public affairs in the Department of Sociology at the University of Exeter (UK). His main interests center on the social implications of new technologies. Dr Rappert's latest book is entitled: Controlling the Weapons of War: Politics, Persuasion and the Prohibition of Inhumanity (2006, Routledge).

Professor Malcolm Dando originally trained in neurophysiology at the University of St. Andrews. He has spent the last 25 years examining concerns about novel weapons for warfare at the University of Bradford. Dando has edited and authored numerous books about biological weapons including Deadly Cultures: Biological Weapons since 1944 (2005, Harvard University Press) and Biotechnology, Weapons and Humanity II (2004, British Medical Association).