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The Emergency Preparedness and Biodefense Interest Group is pleased to announce that Dr. Claire Fraser-Liggett, Director of the Institute of Genome Sciences at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, will give a lecture entitled "Biodefense, genomics and synthetic biology: the dual-use dilemma."
Before moving to the University of Maryland earlier this year, Dr. Fraser-Liggett headed The Institute of Genome Research, where she directed the sequencing of the complete genomes of a number of microorganisms of concern to biodefense, including Bacillus anthracis, Brucella suis, Coxiella burnetii and Burkholderia mallei, and participated actively in the creation of an anthrax genomics database. Such research illustrates the dual-use problem in modern biology: although the new information is crucial for the development of new vaccines, diagnostic methods and therapies and for forensic analysis in the event of a bioterror attack, it could also be misused by persons intent on employing microbes as weapons. Dr. Fraser-Liggett is thus eminently qualified to discuss the dual-use issue. As a member of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, she is helping to define US policy for microbiology research and publication in the open scientific literature.