The 26th International Biodetection Technologies: Biothreat and Pathogen Detection is an internationally recognized meeting for experts in detection and identification of biological threats. This conference will address the key topics in pathogen detection and present the latest R&D and technological innovation in ready-to-market systems. In addition, this meeting will focus on the latest strategies to overcoming the hurdles to the identification of global biological threats and translational gaps in bringing technologies from lab to field. This conference will feature stimulating discussions, perspectives of end users, high quality case studies and provides the opportunity to network with the leading experts in biodefense from around the globe.

This event is followed by Cambridge Healthtech’s Biodetection Technologies: Point-of-Care for Biodefense being held from June 28-29, 2018. Together, these two events will provide three full days of comprehensive programming around biodetection technologies for biodefense.

Final Agenda

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

7:30 am Registration and Morning Coffee

8:25 Chairperson’s Opening Remarks

David Ussery, PhD, Helen Adams & the Arkansas Research Alliance Chair in Biomedical Informatics, Director, Arkansas Center for Genomic Epidemiology & Medicine, Department of Biomedical Informatics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

8:30 KEYNOTE PRESENTATION: The Layered Approach: Lessons from Security Systems Applied to Biothreat & Pathogen Detection

Calvin Chue, PhD, Chief, Biochemistry Branch, Supervisory Biologist, US Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center; Adjunct Faculty, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health

Biothreat and pathogen detection has parallels to the "One Bug, One Drug" paradigm. Detection systems are expected to provide both robust sensitivity and specificity, balanced against speed and cost. These challenges are similar to those faced in physical, computer and network security systems. A layered approach has helped the security sector and has many lessons that can be applied to biothreat detection. Layers of triage, characterization and identification devices will enable future systems to cover a wider range of threats, more affordably and more quickly.

9:00 CBRNE Abroad: Operating a Deployable Lab Overseas to Counteract Biological Threats

Rebecca Lewandowski, PhD, Microbiologist, CBRNE Analytical and Remediation Activity, US Army 20th Command

Logistical and operational barriers for deploying and operating mobile lab units are both numerous, unique to the territory, and unpredictable. Thoughtful adaptations are required to successfully complete a mission while maintaining best lab practices possible and ensuring sample integrity. The Army CBRNE Analytical and Remediation Activity Mobile Expeditionary Units provide insight into navigating the many unexpected obstacles. Here we present a success story that is informative, insightful, and encouraging as we continue to support our troops and monitor biological threats abroad.

9:30 Diagnostics in Resource-Limited Environments – How the Real World Differs from the Laboratory

Chris Taitt, PhD, Research Biologist, United States Naval Research Laboratory

In many developing countries, there is a lack of reliable diagnostic tests that have been adequately characterized for use in austere environments. We are collaborating with clinical researchers in Sierra Leone, West Africa, to characterize a number of diagnostic platforms ranging from simple lateral flow tests to multi-step PCRs. We will discuss challenges inherent in resource-limited environments and describe our own experiences with test performance (and failure) and information management, a critical aspect of any diagnostic or clinical lab. Support for this work was provided by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

10:00 Networking Coffee Break

10:30 Preservation and Detection of Biothreat Pathogens Using Nanotraps

Monique van Hoek, PhD, Professor, School of Systems Biology, National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases, George Mason University

In this work, we extend the use of Nanotraps to preservation and detection. We have tested the capacity of Nanotrap particles to preserve and detect biothreat bacteria (Francisella) and viruses (VEEV) in whole blood. Francisella tularensis is a biological threat agent bacterium that is the causative agent of the disease tularemia. Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV) is an encephalitic alphavirus. We have used Nanotraps to preserve and detect Francisella and VEEV from complex biological solutions and have determined that Francisella and VEEV specific antigens are captured by the Nanotraps.

11:00 Biothreat and Pathogen Diagnostics: Current Technology, Regulations, and Challenges with Accelerated Assay Development

Chitra Edwin, PhD, Senior Vice President, Regulatory Affairs & Compliance, Regulatory Affairs, Spotlight Innovation

The recent NIH reversal (12/19/17) of the ban on conducting germ warfare experimentation underscores the dire need and urgency for technological preparedness to address urgent bioterrorism threats. The immediate availability of validated diagnostic tests to accurately identify the pathogen would be the first critical line of defense. The regulatory agencies in recognition of effective tools for emergencies have developed fast track guidelines to enable diagnostic developers to generate tests that meet performance parameters that meet regulatory expectations.

Advances in Nucleic Acid Technologies & Next-Generation Sequencing

11:30 Ultra-Rapid Sample-to-Answer for Fieldable Genomic Sequencing-Based Detection of Unknown Biothreats

Cory Bernhards, PhD, Research Microbiologist, Defense Threat Reduction Agency

12:00 pm Luncheon Presentation (Sponsorship Opportunity Available) or Enjoy Lunch on Your Own

1:55 Chairperson’s Remarks

Rebecca Lewandowski, PhD, Microbiologist, CBRNE Analytical and Remediation Activity, US Army 20th Command

2:00 A Mixed Microbial Pathogen Reference Material: Ground Truth for Assessing Sensitivity and Specificity of NGS-Based Pathogen Detection

Scott A. Jackson, Leader, Complex Microbial Systems Group, Biosystems and Biomaterials Division, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Metagenomic sequence data obtained from complex samples is able to provide a qualitative and quantitative understanding of the individual components of the original complex sample Ideally, NGS technologies in the not-so-distant future will allow point-of-care diagnoses of infectious disease; going from sample-to-answer in under an hour. NIST is developing a complex mixture of pathogen DNA to serve as a standard for assessing the analytical sensitivity and specificity of NGS-based pathogen detection assays/devices.

2:30 Rapid Sequencing of RNA and DNA Viromes

David Ussery, PhD, Helen Adams & the Arkansas Research Alliance Chair in Biomedical Informatics, Director, Arkansas Center for Genomic Epidemiology & Medicine, Department of Biomedical Informatics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

We describe a pipeline and experimental results for using third-generation sequencing methodologies for direct sequencing of viromes - that is, all the viral genomes from a metagenomic sample. We present preliminary results from a sample of respiratory viruses. By splitting the samples into two aliquots, and using a combination of direct RNA sequencing and DNA sequencing, it is possible to get full length reads for most viral genomes. Comparison against a database of more than 5000 reference viral families in RefSeq, and more than 2 million known viral genomes currently in GenBank allows for rapid identification of the samples community structure, in terms of viral families.

3:00 Opening Refreshment Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing

4:00 Leveraging Genomics for Microbial Detection in Combat Injuries

Nicolas Be, PhD, Staff Scientist, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

The increasing incidence of severe, survivable combat injuries necessitates new approaches to managing battlefield wounds. Novel prognostic tools are urgently needed for guiding and personalizing treatment. Genomics-based techniques that characterize predictive microbial signatures could provide indicators that support care of these injuries. Our studies have applied several such platforms for analysis of combat wounds, including a microbial detection microarray capable of detecting 3,000+ microbial species, whole-metagenome sequencing, and targeted amplicon sequencing for antimicrobial resistance profiling.

Rapid and Future Technologies for Biodetection

4:30 RIGEL: Analytical System for Known and Unknown Biothreat Assessment

Willy A. Valdivia-Granda, Founder and CEO, Orion Integrated Biosciences, Inc.

The rapid progress and decreasing cost of high throughput DNA sequencing is resulting in the exponential accumulation of billions of DNA fragments that can provide clues of the genomic characteristics of microorganisms. Because of their open nature, reference biological databases can be purposely manipulated to affect their integrity and usefulness for attribution and bioforensics. To address some of these challenges we introduce a unique operational approach integrating disparate data sources into a biodefense enterprise to support known and unknown biothreat detection, characterization and to generate assessments. This system named RIGEL includes a genomic-database that dwarfs by twenty times the world’s largest repository of genomic information (GenBank). Billions of records from hundreds of dimensions are corrected, disambiguated, consolidated and integrated with scientific information, aerial, land and marine transportation patterns. Efforts of our work using portable DNA sequencing for novel pathogen discovery will be highlighted.

5:00 Portable Sequencing for Infectious Disease Detection, Diagnosis, Discrimination, and Discovery

James Brayer, Associate Director, Market Development, Oxford Nanopore Technologies, Inc.

5:30 Welcome Reception in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing

6:30 End of Day

Thursday, June 28, 2018

8:30 am Morning Coffee

Identification & Management of Emerging and Re-Emerging Pathogens

8:55 Chairperson’s Remarks

Willy A. Valdivia-Granda, Founder and CEO, Orion Integrated Biosciences, Inc.

9:00 Sequence-Based Method to Predict Host-Pathogen Interactions between Group IV Viruses and Various Hosts

Patricia Legler, PhD, Research Biologist, Naval Research Laboratories

The alphaviral nonstructural protein 2 (nsP2) cysteine proteases (EC 3.4.22.-) are essential for the proteolytic processing of the nonstructural (ns) polyprotein. A common secondary role of these proteases is in interferon (IFN)-antagonism. Here we identify a new host substrate of the nsP2 protease, human TRIM14, a component of the mitochondrial antiviral-signaling protein (MAVS) signalosome. At least eight other Group IV (+)ssRNA viral proteases have been shown to cleave host proteins involved in the innate immune response and the antagonistic strategy may be akin to those of CRISPR/Cas9 and RNAi/RISC, but with a protease recognizing a cleavage site common to both host and virus.

9:30 Use of IFN-Expressing Vectors in Control of Ebola Virus Disease in Swine

Chandrika Senthilkumaran, PhD, Research Scientist, National Center for Foreign Animal Disease, Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Ebola virus (Kikwit) can replicate in domestic pigs. Infected pigs shed the virus as early as 3 days post infection (dpi) and transmit the virus to animals including non-human primates cohabiting with them. In the event of an intentional or accidental exposure of pigs, delaying or preventing the spread of infection in pigs by preventing the shedding of virus is an absolute necessity. In our study we proved that the Porcine Interferon alpha delivered with a replication defective human adenovirus (Ad5-porIFN α) is an effective biotherapeutic agent to prevent shedding of Ebola virus from infected pigs.

International Biosecurity Prevention Forum (IBPF) 10:00 FBI's Role in Biosecurity and Biodefense

Kathleen Giles, Supervisory Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

Please join Supervisory Special Agent Kathleen Giles for a presentation on the FBI's role in biosecurity and biodefense. SSA Giles will give an overview of the FBI's Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate (WMDD) as well as an introduction to several WMDD program and initiatives. SSA Giles will end the talk with a Question and Answer session.

10:30 Coffee Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing

11:15 Microbial Contamination in Surface Water – Challenges and Scope

Pramod Pandey, PhD, Assistant Specialist CE, Department of Population Health and Reproduction, University of California, Davis

While decreasing water levels in rivers has been a major concern for many countries, contamination in surface water, particularly microbial contamination in streams is a serious issue. Solving the problems requires improved understanding of associated source of pollutions. This research is focused on understanding the effects of land uses on microbial contamination in streams, and developing mathematical tools for rapid detection of microbial pathogens in rivers.

11:45 A Cost Effective Method for Surveillance of Influenza Viruses A, B, C and D in Swine Oral Fluid Using Newly Developed Multiplex rRT-PCR Assays

Johnny Callahan, MT(ASCP), PhD, Veterinary Diagnostics Business Development Manager, APHIS/CVB Liaison, Tetracore, Inc.

The objective of this study was to develop cost effective methods for respiratory disease surveillance in swine oral fluid and respiratory swab samples, specifically for various types of influenza viruses. Here, we report on the development of a panel of multiplex rtRT-PCR assays that detect the conserved regions of all four types of influenza viruses. This panel of novel assays was designed to provide cost efficient testing to the producer and promote the continued surveillance for influenza viruses. Screening for various types of influenza viruses by rtRT-PCR is a first but vital step in surveillance. The producer will see cost savings when using the multiplex testing versus the singleplex. In conclusion, having well validated and rapid diagnostic tools such as these new multiplex rtRT-PCR assays will be vital for continued swine health and production while enhancing the One Health Initiative.

12:15 pm Close of Conference

5:15 Dinner Short Course Registration

6:00 Dinner Short Courses*

*Separate registration required