Campus News

Forum will examine potential biosecurity challenges facing American universities

Gary Bertsch

As a part of the university’s efforts to respond to potential bio-security threats against the U.S., the Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute and the Center for International Trade and Security will present “Biosecurity Threats: Opportunities and Challenges for U.S. Universities” on Sept. 20 at 2 p.m. in room H203 at the College of Veterinary Medicine.

The forum will feature speaker Stephanie S. Loranger, senior program officer for the Global Health and Security Initiative at the Nuclear Threat Initiative. Created in 2001 by CNN founder Ted Turner and former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn, the NTI is a private organization focused on strengthening global security by reducing the risk of use and preventing the spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

“Given recent threats, the U.S. government is increasing security regulations in bioscience research and outreach,” said Gary Bertsch, director of CITS. “We need to be informed and engaged to make sure that these regulations are needed and that they serve intended purposes. Fortunately, new efforts are being made at UGA to address these and related issues.”

A panel discussion with UGA experts will follow Loranger’s lecture. Panelists include: Corrie Brown, pathology professor and coordinator of international activities at the veterinary medicine college; Seema Gahlaut, director, South Asia Program at CITS; Susan Sanchez, associate professor of infectious diseases, Athens Diagnostic Laboratory, veterinary medicine college; and Tru Twedt, director, Office of Biosafety.

Before joining the NTI, Loranger served as director of the Biosecurity Project at the Federation of American Scientists. Her work at FAS focused on biological weapons control, the responsible use of science and technology, training and preparedness for attacks by weapons of mass destruction, and developing online educational materials for teaching biosecurity to bioscience graduate students.

Loranger received her Ph.D. in biology and biomedical sciences with a concentration in molecular cell biology from Washington University. She also is an adjunct associate professor in the Security Studies Program at Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. The School of Foreign Service is the oldest and largest school of international affairs in the U.S.

The forum is made possible through collaboration with Women In International Security, a part of the Center for Peace and Security Studies at the Walsh School of Foreign Service. WIIS is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to increasing the influence of women in foreign and defense affairs by raising their numbers and visibility, while enhancing dialogue on international security issues.