Dr. Roberge to present research on bioweapons at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Chemical and Biological Defense Science and Technology Conference
Dr. Lawrence Roberge, Professor of Anatomy & Physiology and Microbiology at Labouré College, will be presenting his research on prion-based bioweapons at the DTRA Chemical and Biological Defense Science & Technology Conference on November 27-30 in Long Beach, CA.
In his presentation, “Prions as a Potential Bioweapon – Hazard Prediction and Risk Analysis,” Dr. Roberge will explore the protein-based infectious particles known as prions, pathways of infection, how these particles can be used as weapons, and potential targets of an attack.
Prions can cause a variety of neurological disorders, including variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans, Scrapie in sheep and goats, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in cattle, and Chronic Wasting Disease in deer and elk. Research has demonstrated that prions may remain infective for years.
According to Dr. Roberge, this research indicates that, “evidence of soil contamination and prion infectivity persistence indicate prions would be an excellent ‘area denial’ weapon to future warfighters.”
In one potential scenario, Dr. Roberge describes airborne dispersal of prions by bioterrorists, which would result in eliciting a high degree of anxiety and social disruption in civilian populations, create severe disruption of cattle-based commodity markets and international trade, overload resources in the public health sector, and may lead to panic and breakdown of the social order. Dr. Roberge will also discuss the possible countermeasures for decontamination of affected areas, as well as detection of prion attacks.
Dr. Roberge has been a professor at Labouré College for nine years, where he teaches Anatomy & Physiology, and Microbiology, and contains his research on next-generation bioweapons and bioterrorism. He recently completed the Harvard Medical School/Beth Israel Deaconess Disaster Medicine Fellowship on CBRN and Bioterrorism in June 2017. He resides in Western Massachusetts with his wife Cynthia and daughter Elizabeth.
The Chemical and Biological Defense Science & Technology Conference is hosted by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and will take place at the Long Beach Convention Center. Bringing together scientists, researchers, leadership, program managers, and students, the Conference offers the opportunity to review the latest research and developments within the field of chemical and biological defense.
About Labouré College: Celebrating 125 years in healthcare education, Labouré is the longest provider of nurses in the Boston area. Labouré College is an independent, private, non-profit, Catholic college, specializing in nursing and healthcare career education. The College is located at 303 Adams Street in Milton, MA.