More than a Decade of Leadership and Scholarship

Prior to joining UPMC in 2003 as the Center for Biosecurity, the group was founded in 1998 as the first and only academic center focused on biosecurity policy and practice. The Center’s work has helped to identify the character and potential consequences of major biological threats, the policies needed to protect the nation, and the response capacities necessary to diminish the impact of such an event.

In the late 1990s, the Center led a major effort to develop consensus guidelines for medical and public health management of anthrax, smallpox, plague, botulinum toxin, tularemia, and the hemorrhagic fever viruses. The results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), and this effort was central in helping shape U.S. biosecurity planning prior to 2001.

In the years after 2001, the Center has hosted more than a dozen high-profile events, including 2 major biosecurity tabletop exercises: Dark Winter (2001), which focused on domestic response to a covert release of smallpox, and Atlantic Storm (2005), which led internationally recognized leaders through a bioterrorism scenario that centered on the response to a smallpox attack.

In recent years, the Center’s efforts have broadened to include pandemics, natural disaster response, emerging infectious diseases, global health, and nuclear disasters and emergencies, while retaining commitment to analyzing biosecurity challenges and solutions.

Through its research and publications, policy and program analysis, expert working groups, Congressional testimony, scenario exercises, national meetings, and small meetings and briefings with government leaders, the Center has a developed a reputation as an independent, valued source of new ideas and pragmatic advice for reducing the dangers posed by biological, nuclear, and other major dangers and challenges facing the country.