What do we need to change about biosecurity governance, and how should we do that? In a recent webinar hosted by Issues in Science and Technology and the Consortium for Science, Policy, & Outcomes, I sat down (well, virtually at least) with Melissa Haendel (University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus), David Gillum (Arizona State University), and Yong-Bee Lim (Council on Strategic Risks) discussed how to reimagine biosecurity and biosafety—and even the relationship between biological research… Read More »What Is Biosecurity for the Twenty-First Century?
It is a time for a change in the way we understand the relationship between science, security, and society. In my recent piece in Issues in Science and Technology, I argue that we need systemic modifications to our biosecurity governance system, and that the new National Security Commission on Emerging Biotechnology is a good venue to instigate those changes. For most of the last century, the science and policy community… Read More »When all research is dual use
The ability to construct, synthesize, and edit genes and genomes at scale and with speed enables, in synergy with other tools of engineering biology, breakthrough applications with far-reaching implications for society. As SARS-CoV-2 spread around the world in early spring of 2020, researchers rapidly mobilized, using these tools in the development of diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines for COVID-19. The sharing of knowledge was crucial to making rapid progress. Several publications… Read More »Making Security Viral: Shifting Engineering Biology Culture and Publishing
Less than a year after the first published paper on CRISPR-CAS9 gene drives, an undergraduate team in the international Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) competition were trying to create one for their project. While we within the iGEM Safety and Security Committee were caught off-guard by the project, our adaptive safety and security system enabled us to iterate a governance procedure and reflect on the larger changes other organizations might consider… Read More »iGEM and Gene Drives: A Case Study for Governance
The American Biological Safety Association (ABSA) International is getting serious about biosecurity. Over the last several years, it has initiated the development of a biosecurity credential for biosafety professionals, and also started an annual Biosecurity Symposium. To initiate the 1st Biosecurity Symposium from April 21-22, 2021, they invited me to give the keynote on the topic of “Biosecurity governance, concerns, and future directions.” I took the opportunity to advance the… Read More »ABSA 1st Biosecurity Symposium Keynote
Stakeholder Engagement Workshop on the Implementation of the United States Government Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern: Workshop Report
This report documents the discussions of the 2017 Stakeholder Engagement Workshop on the Implementation of the United States Government Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern. It is not an official record of the Stakeholder Engagement Workshop. It was compiled to assist the research and policy communities as they consider updating U.S. Government (USG) policies on Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC). Neither the National… Read More »Stakeholder Engagement Workshop on the Implementation of the United States Government Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern: Workshop Report
One of the biggest lessons we can learn from the current pandemic is the need to learn lessons without a pandemic. We can do that by taking a more experimental approach to biosecurity.
Comment for the Department of Commerce ANPRM on “Review of Controls on Certain Emerging Technologies”
This is a copy of my comment for the Department of Commerce ANPRM on “Review of Controls on Certain Emerging Technologies”. Read more about why Commerce asked for comments on how they govern security concerns in emerging technologies, and why it’s important. Download this comment as a PDF. You can also find this comment in the official docket for the ANPRM. 10 January 2019 Matthew S. Borman Deputy Assistant Secretary… Read More »Comment for the Department of Commerce ANPRM on “Review of Controls on Certain Emerging Technologies”
The US Government is asking for advice on how to identify and define emerging technology of security concern. You have until 19 December 2018 to provide your comments.
For over a decade now, I have be rolling around the concept of dual-use in my research, much like how a kitten plays with a fluff ball in the sunbeams of a room. What is the term? I’m mildly interested in it, though it might appear to some others that it’s all I focus on. I like rolling it around, batting it about to see how it will react. I… Read More »The use and abuse of science and technology: rethinking dual-use