Steering Committee

Robert Ellis, Colorado State University (Chair)

Dr. Robert Ellis is the Director of Biosafety at Colorado State University (CSU). He joined the faculty at CSU in January 1978, and is currently a professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology. He was appointed to the CSU Biosafety Committee in 1978, and was Biosafety Officer from 1986 to 1989; He was reappointed to this position in 1997 and serves as a Biosafety Officer to this day. Dr. Ellis is a Certified Biological Safety Professional and a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists (Honorary). He was elected to the American Biological Safety Association (ABSA) Council in October 2004 and served as ABSA President from October 2008 to October 2009. In addition to his CSU and ABSA activities, he served as Executive Director of the Conference of Research Workers in Animal Diseases (CRWAD) from 1987 to 2014, and was a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the National Biosafety and Biocontainment Training Program (NBBTP) of the National Institute of Health (NIH) from 2006 to 2011. He currently serves on the Biosafety Committees for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC). Dr. Ellis is the founding Editor-in-Chief of Animal Health Research Reviews. He was the recipient of the Russian Academy of Agriculture Science, Division of Veterinary Medicine, Gold Medal of Achievement in the field of Veterinary Science in 2008 and the ABSA Everett Hanel, Jr. Presidential Award in 2015, which he earned for his outstanding contributions to ABSA. Dr. Ellis graduated from the University of Wyoming with a BS in Microbiology. He holds MS and PhD degrees from Purdue University, School of Veterinary Medicine.

Debra Long Hunt, Duke University

Dr. Debra Long Hunt is currently Director of Biological Safety and an Assistant Professor in Community and Family Medicine at Duke University. She has also served as Assistant Director of Hospital Epidemiology, Manager of Infection Control, Infection Control Environmentalist of Environmental Safety and Hospital Epidemiology, Senior Medical Technologist of Clinical Microbiology Laboratory, and Medical Technologist of Clinical Microbiology Laboratory, all at Duke University Medical Center. Throughout her career, Dr. Hunt has been honored with several awards including the Duke University Presidential Meritorious Award, Becton-Dickinson Safety Recognition Award, and Arnold G. Wedum Distinguished Achievement Award from the American Biological Safety Association. Dr. Hunt is a certified Medical Technologist from the American Society of Clinical Pathologists and a Certified Biological Safety Professional from the American Biological Safety Association. She received her BA in Zoology from Duke University, Master of Public Health (MPH) at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, and Doctor of Public Health (DPH) at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.

Thomas G. Ksiazek, University of Texas Medical Branch

Dr. Ksiazek is currently a professor in the departments of Pathology and Microbiology and Immunology and director of high containment laboratory operations for the Galveston National Laboratory at the University of Texas Medical Branch. He is also director of the National Biodefense Training Center and a world-renowned virus expert with 40 years of experience. Previously, Dr. Ksiazek was the chief of the Special Pathogens Branch, Division of Viral and Rickettsial Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, in Atlanta, Georgia. He had been in the Special Pathogens Branch at the CDC since 1991 after retiring from the U.S. Army as Lieutenant Colonel with 20 years of active duty service. Dr. Ksiazek is a member of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, American Society for Microbiology, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Veterinary Medical Association, the Society of Tropical Veterinary Medicine, and is a member of the Phi Zeta Honor Society. He started his military career when he joined the U. S. Air Force in 1971, holding a position that year as Base Veterinarian at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. He then worked as Chief of Veterinary Services, Royal Air Force Chicksands, United Kingdom. Dr. Ksiazek earned his DVM from Kansas State in 1970, received a master’s degree in virology in 1976 at the University of Wisconsin- Madison, and received a Ph.D. in epidemiology and virology in 1984 at the University of California, Berkeley.

1 Comment

  1. Dana Perkins's Gravatar Dana Perkins
    May 12, 2016    

    The revised BMBL should include a separate chapter on strengthening and sustaining the culture of biosafety, biosecurity, and the responsible conduct of science, building on individual and collective responsibility, and reinforcing the biological risk management framework of laws, regulations, and policies. The new chapter should address the range of concrete actions that organizations may undertake such as promotion of bioethics training that includes curricula on conduct that incorporates fundamental safety and security responsibilities expected of all life scientists; development and incorporation of bioethics modules into laboratory biosafety and laboratory biosecurity training and/or research design; and the development of semi-quantitative methods to evaluate the efficacy of training, education, codes of conduct, and similar interventions to reduce risk and improve safety in research laboratories housing infectious agents and toxins. BMBL should emphasize training that includes discussions of ethical and legal considerations, as well as the social relevance of life science research, and the range of dual-use conundrums and dilemmas that arise due to the impact of science and technology on society, health, and national security and that efforts should be undertaken to encourage institutional leadership to support and implement bioethics training within their institution’s programs as a component of training. BMBL should identify the role of culture as it relates to biorisk management, emphasize principles for guiding decisions and behaviors as they related to biorisk management (i.e. motivation, leadership, commitment and responsibility, professionalism and competence, learning and improvement, and maintaining public trust). Maintaining short declaratory statements on the importance of culture (in the Introduction section), without a detailed discussion of what constitutes a culture of biosafety, biosecurity, and the responsible conduct of science (in a separate chapter-as proposed here) will not foster the much needed progress in this area.