Friday, June 24, 2011

ECBC Chief Scientist Presents the History of Bioterrorism to a Rapt Audience

Did you know that bioterrorism is as old as the human race? Or that the 17th century children’s rhyme “Ring Around the Rosy” memorializes the deadly pneumonic plaque?

Speaking to a rapt audience of more than 40 people, Harry Salem, Ph.D., presented a brief history of bioterrorism as part of a monthly Science Café sponsored by the Northeastern Maryland Technology Council (NMTC) on June 14.

Salem, chief scientist for life sciences at the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC), provided an overview of bioterrorism from biblical times on, reviewing deadly agents such as anthrax, plague and smallpox. He discussed the irony of two men associated with the start of chemical-biological warfare – Fritz Haber and Frederick Banting – who also received the Nobel Prize for their humanitarian endeavors.

“The NMTC Science Cafés were honored to have Dr. Salem speak this month,” said John Casner, NMTC executive director. “Dr. Salem drew the largest audience ever to our Café – over 40 people with standing room only. He riveted our attention on the reality of bioterrorism, from biblical times to its possible future specter.”

“Dr. Salem’s talk was very interesting and enlightening. He’s a tremendously accomplished scientist,” said Nina Lamba, Ph.D., president and chief scientist of CCL Biomedical, Inc., and chair of the NMTC’s Science Café committee. “I didn’t realize all the history of biowarfare, and I enjoyed his presentation very much.”

Salem’s research interests and experience include inhalation and general pharmacology and toxicology, and in-vitro and molecular toxicology. He is a visiting professor at Rutgers University and an active member of many professional societies. Salem has been a consultant to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and to the Attorney General Janet Reno on matters of toxicology, and has testified before Congress on this subject. He has published 13 books including three volumes of the International Encyclopedia of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, as well as over 100 papers in scientific journals. He received a B.A. from the University of Western Ontario, a B.S. in Pharmacy from the University of Michigan, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Toronto.

NMTC is Maryland's fast growing technology association with over 200 member companies and supporters providing member access to technology, industry, academic and government leaders in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Northeastern Maryland, the Greater Baltimore area and beyond.

“The Science Cafés are geared towards non-scientist adults, and attract everyone from high school students to professional retired scientists,” Lamba said. “Everyone gets something out of it. For students, it’s great to see an extension of their classroom learning. It’s also an opportunity for them to understand more about career paths. The future workforce will be tackling challenges that may encompass chemistry, biology, electronics and mechanics. You need depth and breadth. Our Cafés bring those experts together.”

“NMTC Science Cafes are a fun way for the general public to take in a short presentation on how science and technology affect our lives,” said Casner.

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1 comment:

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