> 2006 feature stories
2006 Feature Stories
Microbiologist Dr. Kevin O'Connell Named "Investigator of the Month."
the Defense Threat Reduction Agency
Dr. Kevin P. O’Connell’s research interests are focused
in three areas: 1) the development of new simulants for bacterial
and viral threat agents that will be usable from lab bench to field
test, 2) new real-time assays to detect threat agent genetic signatures,
and 3) genetic characterization of Ricinus communis, the castor
plant and source of the toxin ricin. He has also recently begun
collaborating on work to redefine the phylogenetic relationships
among strains of Yersinia pestis, and consults with the US Army
Corps of Engineers on biotechnology applications for soil stabilization.
His research experience also includes studies of prokaryotic gene
expression, biosensor characterization, and practical applications
of molecular biology in biologic al defense.
Dr. O’Connell serves as adjunct assistant professor in the
departments of Pharmacology and Epidemiology at the University
of Maryland School of Medicine, lecturing on topics from the pharmacology
of antibiotics to molecular biology and bacterial genetics. He
has presented his work in biological defense research at several
national, international, university and other professional settings.
Since 2002, Dr. O’Connell has been a review panelist for
the Force Protection session of the biannual Army Science Conference.
Dr. O’Connell is an author on over 40 peerreviewed scientific
journal articles, Army technical reports, book chapters, abstracts,
and other articles. He is currently serving a three-year term on
the editorial board of the ASM journal Applied and Environmental
Microbiology, and is an ad hoc grant reviewer for the Army Research
Office. He is a co-inventor on eight patents and pending patent
applications. Before joining government service, Dr. O’Connell
received postdoctoral training at the NSF Center for Microbial
Ecology at Michigan State University, the University of Maryland
School of Medicine, and was a NRC Research Fellow at ECBC. He received
MS and Ph.D. degrees in Bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison,
and his BS degree in Biology from MIT.
(December 7, 2006)
Win's MarCom Platinum Award, The Organization's Top Honor, For 2005 Annual
MarCom Creative Awards announced winners for the 2006 international
awards competition that recognizes outstanding achievement by marketing
and communication professionals. Among the recipients of the coveted
Platinum award was ECBC, for its 2005
There were over 5,000 entries from throughout the United States
and several foreign countries in the MarCom Creative Awards 2006
competition. About 15% of the entries won the Platinum Award, the
organization’s top honor.
ECBC 2005 Annual Report
(November 29, 2006)
ECBC's Enzyme-Based Decontamination Technology Featured in the 2007 FLC Calendar
A photo of a suited up first responder dispersing All-Clear™ foam
to a contaminated vehicle is featured in the Federal Lab Consortium
(FLC) 2007 Calendar.
The Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) developed a patented
technology to neutralize organophosphorus chemical agents and pesticides.
This enzyme-based technology simplifies and improves the process
of decontaminating a class of highly toxic chemicals, including
nerve agents. Other decontamination methods use corrosive chemicals
that are more costly, less efficient, and generate a substantial
amount of residue waste.
ECBC partnered with Genencor International, Inc. to manufacture
this licensed enzymatic decontamination technology, which is trademarked
and known as DEFENZ™. DEFENZ™ is now on the market
and available to companies that produce and sell firefighting foams
and sprays. All-Clear™, developed by Kidde Fire Fighting
Inc, is the first commercially available decontaminant that incorporates
these enzymes developed by ECBC. All-Clear™ neutralizes agents
without harmful effects on sensitive apparatuses like landing gear
and brake assemblies, and has proved to be non-corrosive in Boeing
Series Corrosion testing.
(November 20, 2006)
ships the second
of four mine clearing surrogate vehicles it is building for deploying
warfighters in training at the National Training Center
Last week Edgewood Chemical Biological Center shipped the second
of four mine clearing surrogate vehicles it is building for deploying
warfighters in training at the National Training Center. Authentic
mine clearing vehicles are urgently needed in the theater of war
in Operation Iraqi Freedom and manufacturers are shipping the vehicles
overseas as quickly as they can be built, leaving none available
for training the warfighters who are preparing for deployment.
Working with the Army's Rapid Equipping Force, ECBC engineers
found another solution -- to modify a readily accessible vehicle
to meet the unit's training needs. Using an M923A2 5-ton cargo
truck as the base, the surrogate was then fabricated to look like
the real mine clearing vehicle from the outside and carefully engineering
to accurately emulate its interior spaces. The surrogate has an
operational articulated hydraulic arm and interior and exterior
controls of the same manufacture as the authentic mine clearing
MG Nadeau, Commander, Research Development and Engineering Command,
was on hand to witness the second of four mine clearing surrogates
to be shipped to the NTC. Just 40 days after requesting the
surrogate vehicles, the first one was delivered July 18, 2006
and the second was shipped from Aberdeen Proving Ground July
21st. Two more are in production and will be completed in August.
MG Nadeau recognized the team's accomplishments stating that "Your
success is a monumental home run."
ECBC's mission is to develop chemical and biological defense
technology for the warfighter and for homeland security applications.
In order to fulfill this mission, ECBC has grown a robust capability
in engineering design and is particularly equipped to respond
to urgent needs, often fielding new equipment in weeks.
(July 27, 2006)
works with Harford County Public Schools to develop new curriculum in Homeland
Security and Emergency Preparedness
Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) is working with the
Harford County Public Schools to develop a new curriculum in Homeland
Security and Emergency Preparedness. ECBC, in conjunction with
EAI Corporation in Abingdon, hosted a two-day workshop July 6-7
at the Edgewood Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground to familiarize
teachers and administrators with the issues and information related
to terrorism and emergency response. Participants were introduced
to critical incident response concepts and toured several research
laboratories and engineering facilities.
ECBC was selected to serve on the Harford County Program Advisory
Committee for the development of this first-in-the-nation high
school curriculum in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness,
a program that will be piloted at Joppatowne High School. ECBC
helped conduct a needs assessment, establish the Homeland Security
Sciences Program Sequence and identified courses of instruction
that would be taught under this sequence. ECBC also helped obtain
program approval and secure funding for this pioneering effort.
Because of its involvement in this program, ECBC was also selected
to serve on a Maryland State Department of Education advisory council
and was invited to participate at the national level working with
the Department of Education.
Once students complete the required coursework, they will be able
to fill critical positions within the Harford County area to include
ECBC and APG as well as supporting contractor infrastructure.
“We’re pleased to be able to lend our expertise in
the area of homeland security and emergency preparedness to the
school system,” said Mary Doak, ECBC program manager for
the curriculum development project. “This is a completely
unique program that may serve as a model for other school systems.
Right now ECBC is making an investment in the community. And we
hope that in a few years, this program will have developed a group
of knowledgeable experts groomed for employment at Aberdeen Proving
(July 7, 2006)
ECBC Releases FY 2005 Annual Report
Chemical Biological Center's (ECBC) Annual
2005 technical achievements is now available online. You will see
that our achievements span the entire materiel life cycle from
research to demilitarization. While activities ensuring our warfighter
has the equipment to fight, survive and win on a chemical biological
battlefield dominated 2005, ECBC also made important contributions
in support of non-proliferation, counter proliferation and consequence
To request a hard copy please email email@example.com.
(June 28, 2006)
ECBC Hosts eCYBERMISSION Students
Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) is hosting 60 eCYBERMISSION students as well as 20 teachers and chaperones as they take part
in an Army Enrichment Day at Aberdeen Proving Ground Tuesday, June
20th. These students represent the most intelligent and technologically
innovative children in the world. They are the regional winners
of the eCYBERMISSION program from each of the 50 states and Department
of Defense Territories to include Armed Forces Europe, Armed Forces
Pacific, American Samoa, Guam, and Puerto Rico. These regional
winners will be flown to Washington, DC to compete for the national
eCYBERMISSION is a Web-based competition organized by the Army’s
Research, Development and Engineering Command that rewards students
in grades six through nine for solving problems in their communities
using science, math and technology. This year, 1,111 teams, comprised
of 4,035 students, submitted their research to the Army for judging.
Last year’s sixth grade national winning team from Kennedy
Middle School in St. Clair Shores, Michigan dealt with their community’s
concern with the growing epidemic of West Nile Virus. Addressing
the overpopulation of mosquitoes, the team set out to find a way
to control the growing number of mosquitoes and contain the spread
of West Nile. The team found that bats consume large amounts of
mosquitoes. They then built bat houses to attract bats and control
the mosquito population. The team then publicized their solution
through local newspapers and by creating an awareness video.
This year’s student will be greeted by ECBC Director Jim
Zarzycki and tour the Berger Laboratory. There they will learn
about computer aided drafting and design, conceptual design and
prototyping, engineering, and manufacturing. Additionally the National
Science Center will have its 18-wheeler-Mobile
Discovery Center parked behind the lab for the students.
Through eCYBERMISSION, the U.S. Army has awarded more than $2.5
million in prize money in support of the science, math and technology
leaders of tomorrow. Since its inception four years ago, over 25,000
students have participated in the competition.
(June 13, 2006)
5th Army WMD Civil Support Teams Receive Training at ECBC
This month Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) is supporting
the 5th Army in providing intensive training in chemical and biological
incident management to four National Guard Weapons of Mass Destruction
Civil Support Teams. The teams, who traveled here from Delaware,
New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington D.C., are receiving chemical
and biological defense classroom instruction as well as training
on the use and capabilities of incident response and laboratory
The teams are being trained using four scenarios involving the
supposed use of weapons of mass destruction. The scenarios are
being acted out at three locations on Aberdeen Proving Ground and
one just off post property. To construct the scenarios, ECBC experts
used current hazard and intelligence information. Each one has
been developed to presumably involve a chemical, biological, radiological
agent in a clandestine environment that will require the team to
utilize all equipment and personnel. The ECBC training team also
provided classroom instruction on the history of chemical biological
warfare, properties and characteristics of chemical agents, recognizing
drugs versus chemical or biological materials, improvised dispersal
devices, industrial agents and topics on laboratory and sampling
methods. Instruction has been provided by ECBC subject matter experts.
Right now, 32 states have National Guard Civil Support Teams,
and another 23 teams are in the process of forming. Each 22-person
team is designed to augment "first response" agencies
and must be prepared to deploy within 90 minutes of notification
in response to a man-made or natural event causing massive destruction
to lives or property within the United States or its territories.
They are designed to provide assistance to a local incident commander
in determining the nature and extent of an attack or incident;
providing expert technical advice on response operations; and helping
to identify and support the arrival of follow-on state and federal
military response assets. They also support local and state authorities
at domestic incident sites by identifying agents and substances,
assessing current and projected consequences, advising on response
measures, and assisting with requests for additional military support.
(May 12, 2006)
ECBC Decontamination Technology Wins Prestigious Award
A decontamination technology developed by the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) was named a winner of the prestigious 2006 Award for
Excellence in Technology Transfer.
The new technology, called "Enzyme-Based Decontamination Technology for Organophosphorus Nerve Agents and Pesticides," is an enzyme-based catalytic decontaminant for chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals. Designed for military use in combat and in operations other than war, ECBC's enzymatic decontamination system is unique because it is non-toxic and environmentally safe, a significant difference from caustic chemical decontamination solutions of the past. The system is dual use, as it can be employed in military operations as well as in civilian first responder and homeland defense situations. In an incident where highly toxic chemicals are released, the enzymes quickly
neutralize the chemicals before the contamination spreads.
The substance is stored as a dry powdered concentrate that is activated when combined with available water. It can then be applied to any water-tolerant surface with existing military or civilian spray or foam systems. No rinsing is required, which reduces both the time and amount of water needed to effectively decontaminate.
Because of improved logistics in storage and transporting the enzymes, fire fighters, HAZMAT personnel, and other first responders will be able to more quickly, safely, and effectively respond to an intentional or accidental release of chemical or biological contaminants that threaten public safety and homeland security.
ECBC patented this technology and licensed it to Genencor International, Inc., who licensed the technology and now manufactures the enzymatic decontamination technology under the trademark DEFENZT.
"We are pleased that important technologies such as enzymatic decontamination are being recognized as important contributions to our nation's defense," said Mr. Jim Zarzycki, ECBC Technical Director.
The award is sponsored by the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer. The ECBC inventors will be honored at an award ceremony, which will take place on May 3rd in Minneapolis.
(February 15, 2006)
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