Biosecurity lab opens for research to safeguard world food supply, agriculture

A new biosecurity lab is researching ways to protect the world’s food supply.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the National Strategic Research Institute (NSRI) will developand deploy biosurveilance, biodeteciton and diagnostic tools while focusing on pandemic preparednesswith support from Department of Defense and Homeland Security.

Mike Boehm (BAYM), NU vice president and Harlan Vice Chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources with UNL tells Brownfield the partnership focuses on pathogens that attack crops and livestock. “And really getting out in front of say a terror organization that wants to do harm to our way of life by attacking crops or somehow getting in and trying to contaminate the food in a global production system or thinking about natural outbreaks.”

Dr. Josh Santarpia, the lab’s director, tells Brownfield while much of his work is focused on airborne transmission of diseases in humans, it presents an opportunity for agriculture. “I hope to take agricultural programs and help them find new avenues in defense and national security and I hope to take national security programs and help them find new avenues in agricultural protection.”

The location of the lab, adjacent to other molecular life scientists, biomedical engineers and the Nebraska Center for Virology, provides opportunities for NSRI researchers, staff and program leaders to engage with faculty, students and staff throughout IANR and the university.

Mike Boehm:

Dr. Josh Santarpia:

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