Fall Seminar Series Will Address Bioterrorism

Posted: July 16, 2002 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Lynn Burke

This fall, the threat of biological weapons and the medical defenses against such weapons will be the focus of a seminar series sponsored by the Biology Department and the Center for Biodefense at George Mason and offered through the university’s Office of Continuing Professional Education. The series will run on Thursday evenings, Aug. 29 through Nov. 21, at 5 p.m. in the Prince William II Auditorium on the Prince William Campus.

According to Ken Alibek, distinguished professor of medical microbiology and immunology and executive director of the Center for Biodefense, the course will provide realistic and accurate information so that students are better prepared to understand the potential and limitations of an intentional release of biological agents, giving students insight into the danger and devastation of biological weapons.

“We are excited about this seminar series, which promises to be informative and a wonderful opportunity to learn about medical defenses to the leading microbial candidates of bioterrorism,” says Paulette Royt, associate professor and chair of the Biology Department. “Speakers will be Dr. Alibek and his senior research scientists, all of whom are very experienced in the field of medical defenses to agents of biological warfare. We also have invited several guest speakers, each of whom is a leading expert in this field.”

Alibek will speak on the threat and defense of biological weapons, anthrax, and smallpox. The former first deputy chief of the civilian branch of the former Soviet Union’s offensive biological weapons branch, Alibek is also vice chair and chief scientist of Advanced Biosystems Inc., a firm that conducts biological defense research and provides consulting services to defense, intelligence, and antiterrorist agencies. In addition, Charles Bailey, distinguished professor of biology and deputy director of the Center for Biodefense, will examine the threat to livestock posed by biological weapons.

For registration information, contact the Office of Continuing Professional Education at info@mail.ocpe.gmu.edu or 993-2109. The series is also available as a one-credit course under BIOL 695: Seminar in Molecular, Microbial, and Cellular Biology.

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