2005 ASM biodefense research meeting

February 24, 2005

The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) will host its 2005 Biodefense Research Meeting from March 20-23, 2005 at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland.

There is an increasing need for research that helps protect the public from biological attacks. This need has caused a major shift in priorities, in both the government and private research sectors, from a focus on day-to-day health issues to a greater emphasis on research areas dealing with homeland security. The National Institutes of Health alone has devoted over $1.6 billion of its annual budget to biodefense research. This new biological research agenda, however, does not require scientists to start from scratch. Many new technologies currently being tested in the field of infectious diseases can be applied to the challenges of homeland defense.

The purpose of this meeting is to identify existing state-of-the-art research in the biomedical sciences that can be adapted to address biodefense needs, including vaccine development, new and faster diagnostics, and new treatments for potential biowarfare agents. The meeting will also seek to identify gaps where more research is needed.

The first day of the conference will be devoted to workshop presentations by representatives of various government agencies designed to help researchers better understand the government's approach to and priorities in biodefense. The workshops will be followed by the opening session featuring a presentation "Project Bioshield: The Need, the Legislation, Gaps in Legislation, and Practical Application" by Dr. Philip Russell of the Albert B. Sabin Vaccine Institute, and a roundtable discussion with representatives of government, academia and the private sector on the challenge of translating basic research into usable products.

Additional presentation topics include:
  • Prions as novel threat agents
  • Protecting the food supply from agroterrorism
  • Bird flu and pandemic flu preparedness

    The press center will be located in the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel. Program and abstract books, news releases and information about daily activities will be available. Preliminary program and hotel information are available online at www.asmbiodefense.org. Media registration is complimentary. Journalists wishing to register can do so by contacting Jim Sliwa, ASM Office of Communications, at jsliwa@asmusa.org or by phone at (202) 942-9297.

    American Society for Microbiology

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