Worcester Polytechnic Institute to Lead Scientific Workshop on Nanoscale Defenses for Biological and Chemical Threats

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WPI co-organizes a NATO workshop to improve the detection and decontamination of biological and chemical agents.

Advancing the front lines of research for the detection and decontamination of chemical and biological threats is the mission of an international scientific workshop organized by Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and the Georgian National Academy of Sciences, and is sponsored by the Science for Peace and Security Programme of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Part of NATO’s Advanced Research Workshop series, the event is titled “Nanotechnology to Aid Chemical and Biological Defense” and will take place September 22-26 in Antalya, Turkey.

The workshop will focus on nanoscale science and technology as applied to pathogens like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Francisella tularensis (tularemia), and Bacillus anthracis, the bacterium that causes anthrax. The goal is to eventually engineer new materials that can detect and defend against many biological and chemical agents at the atomic and molecular levels.

“Our hope is that by sharing the latest science and discussing the key challenges in the field we can accelerate technology development to help protect people around the world from these terrible threats,” said Terri Camesano, professor of chemical engineering and dean of graduate studies at WPI, who is the lead organizer and co-chair of the workshop.

More than 20 leading researchers from Europe and the United States, along with graduate students from their labs and collaborating institutions, will participate in four days of presentations and rigorous discussions on a wide range of aspects relevant to biological and chemical threats. In addition to co-chairing the event, Camesano will present a talk about the potential to use naturally occurring antimicrobial peptides to detect biological threats. The workshop is co-chaired by Giorgi Kvesitadze, president of the Georgian Academy of Sciences in Tiblisi, who will present current research on how certain microorganisms and plants metabolize toxins.

Among the other scientists participating in the workshop are: Robert Botto, of the United States Defense Threat Reduction Agency; Levent Kenar of Gulhane Military Medical Academy in Ankara, Turkey; Raj Mutharasan of Drexel University; Mladen Franko of the University of Nova Gorica in Slovenia; Perena Gouma of Stony Brook University; Mario Böhme of Darmstadt University of Technology in Germany; and Giorgio Sberveglieri of the University of Brescia in Italy. Additional information about the workshop and the program of scientific presentations is available here.

About Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1865 in Worcester, Mass., WPI is one of the nation’s first engineering and technology universities. Its 14 academic departments offer more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science, engineering, technology, business, the social sciences, and the humanities and arts, leading to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. WPI's talented faculty work with students on interdisciplinary research that seeks solutions to important and socially relevant problems in fields as diverse as the life sciences and bioengineering, energy, information security, materials processing, and robotics. Students also have the opportunity to make a difference to communities and organizations around the world through the university's innovative Global Perspective Program. There are more than 40 WPI project centers the Americas, Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Europe.

Contact:
Michael Cohen
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Worcester, Massachusetts
508-868-4778, mcohen(at)wpi.edu

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