Biodetection Technologies: Biothreat and Pathogen DetectionThe Knowledge Foundation’s 24th International
Biodetection Technologies:
Biothreat and Pathogen Detection
June 27-28, 2016

The 24th International Biodetection Technologies: Biothreat and Pathogen Detection is an internationally recognized meeting for experts in detection & identification of biological threats. This conference will address hot topics in pathogen detection, strategies and cutting edge assays and technologies for detection & identification of global biological threats and translational gaps in bringing technologies from lab to field. Conference will feature stimulating discussions, perspectives of end users, high quality case studies and a friendly place to network with peers. We invite you to present a talk, a poster, or to attend to learn from and network with the leading experts in biodefense from around the globe.

This event is followed by Knowledge Foundation’s Biodetection Technologies: Point-of-Care for Biodefense being held from June 28-29, 2016. Together, these two events will provide three full days of comprehensive programming around biodetection technologies in biodefense.

Final Agenda


7:00 am Registration and Morning Coffee


8:25 Chairperson’s Opening Remarks

Matthew Lesho, Ph.D., Director, Government Business Development, Luminex Corporation


Heike_SichtigHeike Sichtig, Ph.D., Principal Investigator/Team Lead, Microbiology Devices, Center for Devices (CDRH), US Food and Drug Administration

The presentation will outline studies to evaluate the use of sequencing-based devices as an aid in infectious disease diagnostics, and to gain a better understanding of potential High Throughput Sequencing (HTS) clinical implementation strategies. Regulatory use case scenarios utilizing the FDA-ARGOS database resource will be showcased. The information contained in the presentation concerning possible approaches for validation are suggested approaches open for feedback.

9:00 A Mixed Microbial Pathogen Reference Material: Ground Truth for Assessing Sensitivity and Specificity of NGS-Based Pathogen Detection

Scott_JacksonScott A. Jackson, Ph.D., Complex Microbial Systems Group Leader, 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.

9:30 Biothreat Agent Sample Inactivation - A UK Perspective

Simon Weller, Scientist, CBR Division, Defense Science and Technology Laboratory, UK Ministry of Defense

Recently DSTL has carried out inactivation studies on Ebola Virus (pre-PCR) and Bacillus anthracis (pre-MALDI-TOF MS). In both instances stringent experimentation has generated results that contradict those reported from previous studies, and indicated that these agents are difficult to inactivate - whilst still retaining enough biological material to allow identification. These results have implications for deployed military laboratories where high level biological containment infrastructure is not available. The presentation will also include discussion of the application of Dstl research (on Ebola inactivation) in the UK network of Ebola Diagnostic Labs in Sierra Leone.

10:00 Coffee Break in the Ballroom Foyer


10:30 Next-Generation Sequencing-Based Precision Metagenomics for Rapid Biothreat Detection and Characterization

Nur_HasanNur Hasan, Ph.D., Adjunct Faculty, University of Maryland Institute of Advanced Computer Studies and the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, University of Maryland

The presentation will describe various aspects of novel bioinformatics tools: ease and operational friendliness, data mining efficiency and processing speed, breadth, depth and curation of genome databases to deliver actionable results, flexibility to allow incorporation of specific metadata and/or genome sequences. The presentation will further demonstrate some valuable features that make this technology very attractive and powerful for simultaneous detection and characterization of biothreat agents.

11:00 Enabling the Development of Genomics Expertise for Next-Generation Sequencing Novices

Momchilo (Momo) Vuyisich, Ph.D., Applied Genomics Team, Los Alamos National Laboratory

We have developed a user friendly, web-based platform that helps process raw sequencing data and perform a number of cutting-edge analyses with only a few mouse clicks. Results are available real-time and graphics, both static and interactive, are provided. The underlying rationale for the development of such a platform will be discussed along with new and specific focus on pathogen detection from complex samples.

11:30 Simultaneous Multiplexed Protein and Nucleic Acid Detection Improves Decision-Making for Biothreat and ID Applications

Amy Altman, Ph.D., Vice President, Biodefense and Protein Diagnostics, Luminex Corporation

Our ability to quickly detect and characterize a deliberate biological attack or an outbreak of an emerging infectious disease is critical to saving lives and minimizing the impact of such an event. To provide more comprehensive situational awareness, Luminex is developing multi-modal approaches to biological detection, allowing for the simultaneous detection of complementary pathogen and host-response targets.

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


1:55 Chairperson’s Opening Remarks

Crystal Jaing, Ph.D., Group Leader, Applied Genomics, Physical & Life Sciences, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory


Timothy_MinogueTimothy D. Minogue, Ph.D., Chief, Molecular Diagnostics Department, Division of Diagnostic Systems, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID)

The current Ebola outbreak highlights the need for effective/rapid diagnostics for viral hemorrhagic fevers. However, several highly pathogenic viruses that present with similar pathology are endemic to similar regions and co-circulate with Ebola. Our group strives to provide research and development of diagnostics to affect time-to-answer, assay sensitivity, and ease of use to help diagnose these types of diseases.

2:30 Sample Preparation Improvements for Real-Time Whole Genomic Sequencing Using Nanopore Technology

Robert_Cory_BernhardsRobert Cory Bernhards, Ph.D., Research Microbiologist, BioSciences Division, Edgewood Chemical Biological Center/Defense Threat Reduction Agency

The Department of Defense has a limited toolset for field-deployable detection and diagnostic assays.  Nanopore real-time whole genomic sequencing technology offers the potential for biothreat identification even in austere environments.  This presentation will describe improvements in sample preparation that allow for the rapid identification and differentiation of RNA viruses using this disruptive technology.

3:00 Comprehensive and High-Throughput Pathogen Detection Using the Lawrence Livermore Microbial Detection Array

Crystal_JiangCrystal Jaing, Ph.D., Group Leader, Applied Genomics, Physical & Life Sciences, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

The Lawrence Livermore Microbial Detection Array (LLMDA) is a comprehensive DNA detection technology containing probes to detect more than 10,000 species of microbes including viruses, bacteria and fungi. The technology has been applied to vaccine safety, infectious disease, biodefense, agricultural security and microbiome to rapidly identify known and emerging pathogens. The next-generation high-throughput LLMDA is a cost-effective and faster alternative than next-generation sequencing.

3:30 Refreshment Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing

4:15 Using Protein Structure and Microbial Genomes to Characterize Pathogen Antibiotic Resistance in Complex Metagenomic Samples

Jonathan_AllenJonathan Allen, Ph.D., Informatics Scientist, Global Security Computing Applications Division, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Previously sequenced microbial genomes and genes associated with antimicrobial resistance are collected and stored in a novel de Bruijn genome population graph for efficient identification of antibiotic resistance genes in complex metagenomic samples. Protein structure motifs associated with resistance mechanisms are included in the graph to recognize key genetic features of resistance and provide more accurate recognition of antibiotic resistance determinants.

4:45 Rapid Phage Engineering as a Biodefense Platform for Bacterial Threats

Matthew Lux, Ph.D., Research Biologist, BioSciences, US Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center

The emerging spectre of antimicrobial resistant pathogens, whether natural or engineered, demands technologies that can be rapidly adapted to detect and defeat new threats as they arise. Here we outline the potential of rapid engineering of phage to address this need, and describe ongoing work to develop a set of interchangeable phage components as a modular biodefense platform.

5:15 Welcome Reception in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing

6:15 End of Day


8:00 am Morning Coffee


8:25 Chairperson’s Opening Remarks

Harshini Mukundan, Ph.D., Principal Investigator and Team Leader, Chemistry, Los Alamos National Laboratory

8:30 High-Consequence Bacterial Pathogen Identification and Database Development with MALDI-TOF Mass Spectrometry

Dobryan Tracz, Biologist, Bioforensics Assay Development and Diagnostics Section, National Microbiology Laboratory at the Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health, Public Health Agency of Canada, Government of Canada

MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry-based identification of high-consequence bacterial pathogens is limited by the availability and quality of databases. A high-quality local database, containing mass spectral profiles (MSP) of biothreat bacterial agents and near-neighbour species, was developed according to Bruker Daltonics custom library generation standards. Biothreat agent MSPs were created in Biotyper software, used to verify a MALDI-TOF MS method for bacterial identification, and assessed for possible species-specific biomarker peaks

9:00 Nanotrap Hydrogel Microparticle Detection of Francisella Tularensis

Monique_Van_HoekMonique van Hoek, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Systems Biology, George Mason University

This research highlights a new proteomics-based approach to the detection of Francisella, a biothreat bacteria. Nanotraps are hydrogel microparticles containing various chemical baits, and the Nanotraps can bind, protect and concentrate biomarkers, proteins and bacterial antigens from complex biological solutions. We have used Nanotraps to bind Francisella antigens from complex biological solutions and have determined that Francisella-specific antigens are captured by the Nanotraps.

9:30 Selected Poster Presentation

10:00 Coffee Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing

10:45 Bioforensic and Biosurveillance Analysis System to Address Interoperability, Accuracy and Speed for Microbial Attribution

Willy Valdivia-Granda, Ph.D., CEO, Orion Integrated Biosciences

We developed a computational analysis system to accurately establish intra- and interspecies relationships of more than 380,000 known taxonomies. We demonstrate the performance of RIGEL-mtp using DNA from culture of Fransicella tularensis, Bacillus anthracis, Burkholderia spp., Ebola, African Swine Fever and Foot-and-Mouth Disease viruses and more than 1,000 clinical, biological and environmental metagenomic samples. We will discuss the implications of our work in bacterial and viral strain and species disambiguation, correction, genomic-based characterization for bioforensics and biosurveillance.

11:15 A New Model for Quantifying Salmonella Levels in Poultry Carcass Treatment under Variable Thermal Conditions

Pramod K. Pandey, Ph.D., Faculty/Specialist, Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis

Non-uniform temperature distribution during thermal treatment of carcasses enhances the likelihood of pathogen survival in the processed products. Measurement of pathogen levels in samples subjected to variable temperatures, however, is tedious and hence inactivation of pathogens is difficult to verify in such conditions. The proposed mathematical model can be used to detect/enumerate Salmonella levels during carcass treatment under non-uniform processing temperature.

11:45 Detection Method Assessment Tool for Chemical, Biological, and Radiological Agents

Penny_NorquistPenny Norquist, Project Manager, The Food Protection and Defense Institute, University of Minnesota

The Food Protection and Defense Institute (FPDI) has developed a tool to assess detection methods for agents based on their applicability for an intended application. Twenty-three performance attributes are categorized as Outstanding, Excellent, Satisfactory, or Limited based on agent type and parameters specified by SME workgroups. The importance of each attribute is ranked based on the agent type and application (Screening vs. Confirmatory). The tool can be applied to current or future methods.

12:15 pm Luncheon Presentation (Sponsorship Opportunity Available) or Lunch on Your Own


1:40 Chairperson’s Opening Remarks

Tom Slezak, Ph.D., Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff, Pathogen Bioinformatics, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

1:45 KEYNOTE PRESENTATION: BioWatch: The Future of Biodetection

Michael_WalterMichael Walter, Ph.D., Detection Branch Chief & Program Manager, BioWatch, US Department of Homeland Security

This presentation will look at how BioWatch - the nation’s only federally-owned, locally-operated nationwide program - is planning to enhance its technology to work towards faster detection times and save more lives. The program has engaged state and local stakeholders through focus groups to identify and prioritize technology enhancements that would enable mid- and long-term progress.

2:30 Translation Challenges in POC Field Readiness: Strategies and Case Studies on Translation of New and Rapid Biodetection Technologies from Lab to Field and Clinic

Alina_DeshpandeAlina Deshpande, Ph.D., Senior Scientist/Team Leader, Analytics Intelligence and Technology Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory

I will present case studies for POC immunoassays and multiplex assays applied to infectious disease detection and surveillance, and review specific successes/challenges like the influence of the Ebola crisis in West Africa on development of POC diagnostics for neglected tropical diseases. Specific approaches/strategies to overcome the “valley of death” between POC R&D and translation of novel technologies to field readiness will also be presented.

3:00 Bulk Acoustic Wave (BAW) Bio-Sensor Technology for Liquid Environments

Florian Bell, Sensor System Integration, Qorvo

Qorvo BAW enables ubiquitous deployment of liquid-based biosensors. Multi-GHz arrays use advanced addressing schemes and signal processing to enable several firsts in measurement performance, density, mobility, and distributed sensing- creating radical new approaches towards countermeasure development for biological and chemical threats to aid the warfighter and ensure USA national security.

3:30 Panel Discussion: Challenges and Opportunities in Translation of Biodetection Technologies


Tom Slezak, Ph.D., Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff, Pathogen Bioinformatics, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory


Alina Deshpande, Ph.D., Senior Scientist/Team Leader, Analytics Intelligence and Technology Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Harshini Mukundan, Ph.D., Principal Investigator and Team Leader, Chemistry, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Michael Walter, Ph.D., Detection Branch Chief & Program Manager, BioWatch, US Department of Homeland Security

Florian Bell, Sensor System Integration, Qorvo

3:45 Close of Conference

5:30 Suggested Dinner Workshop


*Separate registration required