Public Meeting, 1.26.17- Biodefense Vulnerabilities Posed by Synthetic Biology

To assist the U.S. Department of Defense’s Chemical and Biological Defense Program (CBDP), The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has appointed an ad hoc committee to address the changing nature of the biodefense threat in the age of synthetic biology.

The focus of the study will be the manipulation of biological functions, systems, or microorganisms resulting in the production of a disease-causing agents or toxins. The study will be conducted in two primary phases.

  • The committee will develop a strategic framework to guide an assessment of the potential security vulnerabilities related to advances in biology and biotechnology, with a particular emphasis on synthetic biology.
  • The committee will use the outlined strategic framework to generate an assessment of vulnerabilities posed by synthetic biology. Inputs to this assessment may include information about the current threat, current program priorities and research, and an evaluation of the current landscape of science and technology. Conclusions and recommendations will include a list and description of vulnerabilities posed by synthetic biology and prioritized options to address them.
  • The committee’s first meeting will be January 26-27 in Washington, DC at our historical building at 2101 Constitution Ave, NW.   When the agenda for the open sessions is available, it and information for registering your attendance will be posted at http://nas-sites.org/dels/studies/strategies-for-identifying-and-addressing-vulnerabilities-posed-by-synthetic-biology/.
  • The second meeting has been scheduled for March 30-31, 2017.  The location and time of the open session will be announced in February or March.

Full Bios  –  Synthetic Biology Study Committee Members

Michael Imperiale, University of Michigan Medical School (Committee Chair)
Patrick Boyle, Ginkgo Bioworks
Peter A. Carr, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory
Douglas Densmore, Boston University
Diane DiEuliis, National Defense University
Andrew Ellington, University of Texas at Austin
Gigi Kwik Gronvall, Center for Health Security of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Charles Haas, Drexel University
Joseph Kanabrocki, University of Chicago
Kara Morgan, Battelle Memorial Institute
Kristala Jones Prather, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Thomas Slezak, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Jill Taylor, Wadsworth Center
David R. Walt, Tufts University and Howard Hughes Medical Institute

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