Cambridge Healthtech Institute's 8th Annual

Biosurveillance Integration

Integrated Management of Threats to Public Health & Safety

June 17-18, 2019


The national strategy for biosurveillance calls for a coordinated approach for threats to public health and safety. This coordinated approach brings together federal, state and local governments; private sector, nongovernmental organizations and international partners to enhance existing biosurveillance capabilities and develop new ones that provide decision makers and responders with the essential information to manage these threats. This strategy recognizes that a well-integrated national biosurveillance enterprise can save lives by providing essential information for better decision making at all levels. This conference will address implementation strategies for the national strategy for biosurveillance identified core functions.

This event is in conjunction with our 27th International Biodetection Technologies: Point-of-Care for Biodefense as well as our 27th International Biodetection Technologies: Biothreat and Pathogen Detection conferences. Together, these events will provide three full days of programming around biodetection technologies and biosurveillance in both the field and the lab.

Final Agenda


Screening, Capture & Biosurveillance

1:55 PM Chairperson’s Remarks

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

2:00 KEYNOTE PRESENTATION: Perspectives on AI Disruptions for Biodefense

Jason Paragas, PhD, Director, Innovation, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a rapidly evolving technology that is significantly disrupting many sectors of the economy. Recently, AI-based technologies have been revealing new insights in the health and biopharmaceutical sectors. Biodefense is not immune and will be influenced by AI-based tools and the likely effects will advance our biodefense apertures. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has partnerships in basic science, drug discovery and development, vaccine design, and clinical medicine that serve as pathfinders in the new AI-driven science and technology landscapes.

2:30 Diagnostics in Resource-Limited Environments - An Update from Our 2018 Trials

Chris Taitt, PhD, Research Biochemist, Center for Bio Molecular Science & Engineering, US Naval Research Lab

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

4:00 Mistaken Identity – Critique of Field Biodetection Technologies and Their Use Incidents

Cary Rue, Microbiologist, Microbiology Department, FBI Laboratory

This presentation will focus on a critique of field biodetection technologies and their use incidents that the FBI laboratory has been involved in.

4:30 Behind-the-Scenes of Genomic Sequencing in Surveillance and Clinical Projects

Wiriya Rutvisuttinunt, Lead Molecular Genomics Core, Viral Diseases Branch, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research

Our standard procedures for sequencing are designed to generate complete genomes from samples with large host genomic backgrounds. Herein, we will present several technical obstacles that have challenged our scientific goals and we will discuss experimental approaches used in our laboratory to overcome these problems. These results will highlight how Viral Disease Branch-WRAIR utilizes the flexibility and pushes the boundaries of NGS methods in order to generate specific data to answer complex questions in both clinical and research settings.

5:00 Metagenomic Sequencing of Air Filter Samples Towards Biosurveillance in South Korea Using Nanopore Sensing Technology

Timothy Reed, Microbiologist, 20th Command CARA, US Army

In a collaboration effort with ECBC, DTRA, JPEO and the 20th Command CARA, we are developing a workflow pipeline to analyze air filter samples from Dry Filter Units (DFUs) for biothreat agents in under eight hours. This will allow orthogonal testing method for theater validation labs in South Korea and provide additional information that traditional PCR could miss or leave unclear. The use of nanopore sensing technology provides the portable, low cost and rapid library preparation needed to provide metagenomic sequencing capabilities in South Korea.

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

6:30 End of Day


8:00-8:55am Roundtable Discussions with Continental Breakfast

Participants choose a specific breakout discussion group to join. Each group has a moderator to ensure focused discussions around key issues within the topic. This format allows participants to meet potential collaborators, share examples from their work, vet ideas with peers and be part of a group problem-solving endeavor. The discussions provide an informal exchange of ideas and are not meant to be a corporate or specific product discussion.

TABLE 1 - Biodetection In the Real World
Moderator: Chris Taitt, PhD, Research Biochemist, Center for Bio Molecular Science & Engineering, U.S. Naval Research Lab

  • Testing in advance of deployment - what is the best strategy?
  • Are abbreviated instructions sufficient to inform technicians and how do we account for mis-handling, untrained users?
  • How can we decrease costs associated with development, manufacturing, and testing so that tests are affordable by developing nations?
  • How can we account for underlying health issues encountered in developing nations?

TABLE 2 - The Future of Continuous Environmental Monitoring Biodetection- The Next “Biowatch”
Moderator: Luther Lindler, PhD, Chief Scientist & Advisor, Chemical & Biological Defense, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

  • What are the key challenges for biodetection both indoors and outdoors.
  • Improvements in sensitivity and specificity (new biosensors).
  • Indoor challenges/outdoor challenges.
  • The need for improved data analytics to identify biological releases.
  • What might a future detection system look like?

TABLE 3 - How to Deal with Using Microbial Genomics To Identify Potential Bioterrorism Attacks.
Moderator: 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

  • How do we address the issue with taxonomy, which has been rapidly changing.
  • How do we classify potential pathogens “in the wild’, vs. ’terrorist GMOs’ vs. ‘environmental harmless bacteria’ is not as easy as it sounds.

Table 4: Detecting Infectious Disease Threats (IDTs) Where it is Needed
Moderator: Willy Valdivia-Granda, Founder & CEO, Orion Integrated Biosciences, Inc.

  • Periodically previously unknown infectious diseases emerge to affect human, animals and plants; similarly, pathogens present in a population at low levels have re-emerged rapidly in incidence and geographic range with equally grave consequences.
  • Given the dynamics of environmental change, travel and the ability of different governments to detect IDTs is key to develop integrative policies to accurately detect infectious diseases.
  • The challenges that more 1500 IDTs pose to human, animal or plant health and how different technologies can be applied in diverse operational environments.
  • What are the practical requirements, regulatory issues and policy challenges.

TABLE 5 - Understanding The Hurdles to Introducing POC Technologies to Established Medical Facilities
Moderator: Joany Jackman, PhD, Senior Scientist, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory

  • With whom do you need to be talking to get your device into a medical facility?
  • What impact do you expect your device to have in its operating environment?
  • How do you compare to the established technologies?
  • Who pays for your test and what are they willing to pay?
  • This early morning session is intended to be a discussion of the questions you should be thinking about as your technology moves toward commercialization.

TABLE 6: Agnostic Biosensing - Removing the Situational And Syndromic Components Of Biodetection And Diagnostics 
Moderator: Harshini Mukundan, Principal Investigator & Team Leader, Chemistry for Biomedical Applications, Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • What are the syndromic and situational information that influence diagnostics and detection
  • What is the cost of this bias - in terms of decisions on the choice of sample, method, assay, and time to result
  • Strategies to remove the bias from the diagnostics equation
  • Role of big data and analytics in this response

TABLE 7: Epic Failures in Research And Development; Share Your Experience To Help Others Feel Better About Themselves
Moderator: Dave Alburty, CEO, InnovaPrep LLC

  • What happened?
  • What was learned?
  • Would you try it again?
  • Did it lead to something else that was great?
  • Was there collateral damage or benefits?
  • How much did it cost?

Risk Anticipation

8:55 Chairperson’s 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

9:00 KEYNOTE PRESENTATION: Biodefense to Support the Homeland Security Enterprise

Luther Lindler, PhD, Chief Scientist & Advisor, Chemical & Biological Defense, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) performs research and development for DHS. Current threat awareness projects being executed by DHS include characterization of high consequence pathogens through funded laboratory studies. DHS has contributed to the response and recovery area by performing clean up and modeling testing for underground transportation. These programs will be discussed in the presentation to introduce the audience to the critical mission DHS performs within the area of biodefense.

9:30 KEYNOTE PRESENTATION: The $7 Billion Dollar Team: Making Biotechnology Better, Stronger, Faster

Stacey Broomall, Branch Chief, Biotechnology, Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, U.S. Army

Whether sustaining an award-winning cryorepository; providing standardization and quality management services; leveraging extensive detection assay development and testing expertise; or expanding large-scale fermentation suite capabilities to marry material sciences and biological engineering into pioneering new technologies, Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center has a long history of delivering both technological innovation and pathogen detection resources and materials to the soldiers of tomorrow and beyond.

10:00 Preparing for A New Threat Environment: Creating A Capability For Medical Countermeasure Rapid Response

Chris Earnhart, PhD, Joint Product Lead, PRISM - Platforms for Rapid Integrated Solutions for Medical Countermeasures, Medical Countermeasure Systems, U.S. Army

While combatting known chemical and biological threats remain a priority, the Department of Defense has recognized that the threat environment is changing. Operational necessity may expose the Warfighter to emerging diseases, and synthetic biology tools are reducing the barriers to pathogen and toxin engineering. The DoD is building a capability for agile rapid response medical countermeasure development by leveraging and maturing highly innovative technologies and aggressive approaches to significantly reduce timelines while ensuring product safety and efficacy. The long term vision is for a highly integrated and accessible whole-of-government capability to rapidly develop and field medical countermeasures against known, emerging and engineered threats.

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

11:15 Roles that the Environment and Natural Resources Play on Security, Tactics, Behavior, and Terrorism and USDA’s Response

Stiefel_DavidDavid Stiefel, National Security Policy Analyst, Office of Homeland Security, USDA

Climate change and environmental stressors push populations and actors in a variety of ways. Pathogens can migrate across borders and through trade. USDA is playing a major role in the drafting and implementation of the National Biodefense Strategy. USDA, in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security, has also begun the construction of the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility, or NBAF; which will be America’s foremost animal disease research facility.

Advances in Nucleic Acid Technologies & Next Generation Sequencing

11:45 Immunology & Surveillance and Preparedness Plans

Ivana Haluskova-Balter, Medical Advisor, R&D & Science, French Society of Immunology

12:15 PM Enjoy Lunch on Your Own

12:30 Registration

Threat Identification & Characterization

1:25 Chairperson’s Remarks

Luther Lindler, PhD, Chief Scientist & Advisor, Chemical & Biological Defense, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

1:30 Analytics for Investigation of Disease Outbreaks (AIDO) – A Web-Based Analytic Facilitating Situational Awareness in Unfolding Disease Outbreaks

Deshpande_AlinaAlina Deshpande, Biomedical Scientist, Defense Systems & Analysis, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Information from historical infectious disease outbreaks provides real-world data about outbreaks and its impacts on affected populations. These data can be used to develop a picture of an unfolding outbreak in its early stages when incoming information is sparse and isolated in order to identify effective control measures and guide their implementation. We will present a new approach to applying historical outbreak data to provide actionable information during the early stages of an unfolding infectious disease outbreak.

2:00 Real-Time, Full Length Genome Sequencing of DNA and RNA Viruses

Ussery_DavidDavid 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

Third generation, single-molecule sequencing allows for long reads, and with the right chemistry the possibility of directly sequencing RNA molecules. We have sequenced a mixture of six different DNA and RNA viruses, and have obtained full length viral genome reads for all six. Further, it is possible to detect modified bases in both genomic DNA as well as RNA from the sequencing data, making possible epigenetic and epi-transcriptomic analysis of viral genomes.

2:30 Development of Portable and Wearable Platforms to Detect Threats and Measure Human Performance in Resource Limited Environments

Hirschberg_DavidDavid Hirschberg, Professor & Scientist, Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, University of Washington Tacoma

3:00 Characterization of Microbial Communities and Pathogens for The Public Health and National Defense Community

Be_NicolasNicolas Be, PhD, Deputy Group Leader, Genomics, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

3:30 Refreshment Break with Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing

Aberration Detection

4:15 Real-Time Heterogeneous Data Fusion Approaches to Predict Dengue

Geoffrey Fairchild, PhD, Scientist, Los Alamos National Laboratory

There is an urgent need for improved prediction of their spread so that mitigation techniques and treatments can be administered proactively rather than just reactively. Remote sensing imagery is an attractive data source to exploit for this application as it provides real-time information without having to physically be on the ground. Here, we derive standard indices from multispectral imagery and explore how predictive they are for forecasting dengue incidence in Brazil.

Information Integration, Analysis & Sharing

4:35 Federal Response and Recovery to CBR Events - The Defined Need for Time and Space to Make Decisions

Christopher Russell, Managing Partner, Global Systems Engineering

The Biological Threat Reduction Program has a focus of enabling international partners to detect, characterize and respond to naturally-occurring or man-made events earlier—provides global decision makers with increased time and space to mitigate potential pandemics. Through this talk, we will explore the needs of decision-makers and the nexus between technology and operations.

4:55 Tackling the Next Epidemic: Data Technology to the Rescue

George_DylanDylan George, PhD, Associate Director BNext, BNext, In Q Tel, Inc.

Integrating novel and available data technologies into public health practice will improve situational awareness, help shape outbreak interventions more precisely, facilitate faster and more efficient response activities and save lives. To realize these efficiencies, federal, state and local public health agencies need a fundamentally more aggressive and systematic adoption, use and coordination of data technologies to provide essential information for tailoring interventions during an outbreak.

5:15 End of Biosurveillance Integration & Dinner Short Course Registration*

6:00 Dinner Short Courses

SC1: Sample Preparation Technologies for Pathogen Detection

Instructor: Dave Alburty, CEO, InnovaPrep LLC

This tutorial will discuss sample preparation technologies for detection, identification and analysis of biomedical, biological and chemical agents, biothreats in point-of-care, laboratory and field settings. It will review the novel and rapid technologies for sample preparation, application of analytical strategies and automation in biodetection.

* Separate registration required.