BioDefense Symposium to connect local industries
Huntsville, Ala – Protecting the nation from harm is a growing pledge in Huntsville. Leaders at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology aim to further catalyze the city’s role in fortifying safety levels for civilians and soldiers through the upcoming BioDefense Symposium.
Hosted by HudsonAlpha and the Partnership for Biotechnology Research, the BioDefense Symposium will be held October 19-20 at the Jackson Center, located adjacent to the institute on the Cummings Research Park Biotech Campus.
“Our goal is to raise awareness among regional defense companies that there are markets for them in the biomedical area,” said Troy Moore, a chief symposium organizer. “The biotech community here can assist those defense companies in developing these opportunities,” he added. Generally, projects address basic and applied research on biological threats, resulting in medical solutions to protect civilians and military service members.
Moore, together with fellow entrepreneurs leasing space in HudsonAlpha and innovators at the non-profit institute, studied project funding across a variety of federal agencies over the past two years. “There are significant opportunities available for groups with a profound understanding of how to work government contracts and perform biomedical solutions through directed research,” he said.
"Presentations from government, industry and academia currently include leadership at Kansas State University’s Agricultural Biosecurity Institute, the FBI, the U.S. Department of Defense Transformational Medical Technologies Institute and the Oakridge National Laboratory,” said Moore. HudsonAlpha, SAIC, CFDRC, Kailos Genetics and Diatherix Laboratories will be among local organizations making presentations.
Former U.S. Rep. Bud Cramer is also slated to speak at the symposium. “My tenure in Washington gave me tremendous insight to the strong connections, as well as the gaps, in biodefense programs and policy,” he said. He added that links between federal agencies, as well as between federal, state and municipal organizations, are key to short- and long-term safety strategies.
Other discussions at the symposium will include emerging diseases; epidemics in rural areas; rangeland management of rabies; ground-based experiments before space flight; optimizing food safety; microbial forensics; biodefense strategies; genetic profiling applications for soldier safety and deployment; unmanned detection of biological agents via insect cyborgs; and infectious disease identification.
“Huntsville is an excellent venue to further explore and collaborate on our nation’s defense,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. He noted that the BioDefense Symposium is an opportunity to ensure that the nation’s biodefense is, “better, stronger and second-to-none.”
The traditional defense and biotechnology communities are each accustomed to working in interdisciplinary teams of federal and contractor personnel, said Moore. “We just need to get the two communities to work together.”
Additional information and online registration for the BioDefense Symposium is available at www.hudsonalpha.org/biodefense.
Holly Ralston McClain
The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, Alabama, is the cornerstone of the Cummings Research Park Biotechnology Campus. The campus hosts a synergistic cluster of life sciences talent – science, education and business professionals – that promises collaborative innovation to turn knowledge and ideas into commercial products and services for improving human health and strengthening Alabama’s progressively diverse economy. The non-profit institute is housed in a state-of-the-art, 270,000 square-ft. facility strategically located in the nation’s second largest research park. HudsonAlpha has a three-fold mission of genomic research, economic development and educational outreach.