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2018 Pre-Symposium Workshops

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Course Title:  Case Studies in Biocontainment Emergencies

Instructor:      David Harbourt, PhD, CBSP, SM(NRCM), RBP



Course Length:  4 hours


Course Time:  1:00 pm – 5:00 pm




It is important that biosafety professionals understand how to respond to emergency response situations that could affect operations in containment laboratories.  Emergency situations can affect a wide range of facility operations (electrical failures, plumbing, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), etc.) and often occur with little or no warning to the biosafety professionals, scientific staff or support staff.  Biosafety professionals need to be able to thoroughly understand how their facility and personnel function during normal operations to aid in preparation for significant events.  In addition to understanding their facility and personnel, it is also vital for biosafety professionals to know who the key decision makers are in their facility for situations that could potentially result in short term and/or long term disruptions to operations.  By understanding how their facility is intended to function, who the key decision makers are and the critical information that is needed for the key decision makers during emergency scenarios, biosafety professionals can help ensure that they are prepared when situations arise in the future.

This course will focus solely on applying knowledge of emergency response, HVAC, plumbing, electrical issues and potential occupational exposures to select case studies.  The expectation for this course is that the topics in the case studies have either been covered from attending the “How to Respond to Emergency Scenarios in Biocontainment Laboratories” course or in the individuals’ own professional experience.   During the class, individuals will evaluate 25 total different case studies covering each of these areas.  Individuals taking this course will work through a subset of case studies and proper courses of action will be developed through collaboration and group discussion.

Key Objectives:

1.     Be able to describe the decision making process during an emergency response situation.

2.     Understand who the key decision makers are in your facility and who can authorize decisions that will impact mission operations.

3.     Be able to make timely decisions about complex issues facing biocontainment laboratory operations and personnel

4.     Identify lessons learned from case studies and apply them to their own institute emergencies.

Course Title:  Personnel Security in Laboratory Biosecurity Programs

Instructor:      Ben Perman, PhD // US Coast Guard

                       Lindsey Odell, PhD // Defense Threat Reduction Agency


Course Length:  8 hours


Course Time:  8:00 am – 5:00 pm




Personnel security is comprised of security measures focused on people and behaviors rather than typical physical barrier approaches. Personnel security can be thought of as  the “administrative controls” in any advanced security program. This course will teach administration, management, and researchers the basic principles of threat assessment and introduce students to the role of comprehensive personnel security in a laboratory biosecurity program. The course will give students a basic tool-kit that will allow them to: (1) implement successful comprehensive insider threat mitigation strategies using personnel security approaches at their home institutes and, (2) convey concepts in personnel security to their colleagues. Students will be presented with relevant case studies in order to learn about relevant threats in the biomedical and health sectors. Students will learn about all aspects of personnel security including: suitability, reliability, peer and self reporting strategies, threat assessment, OPSEC, INFOSEC, and an introduction to elicitation, manipulation and surveillance awareness. These concepts will be put in to practice in interactive, live role-playing scenarios that include interview tactics, deception detection, elicitation, and surveillance detection.  Regulatory issues relevant to implementation of personnel security management programs, in particular changes to the Select Agent Regulations pertaining to Tier 1 agents, will also be discussed.


Course Title:  Engineering for the Biosafety Professional, Part 1

Instructor:      Juan Osario // World BioHazTec

                        Ted Traum // World BioHazTec


Course Length:  8 hours


Course Time:  8:00 am – 5:00 pm




Proactive biosafety professionals need to be involved and knowledgeable in the operation, maintenance and certification of their containment facilities and building systems.  Frequently, the biosafety professional is called upon to participate in the planning, design and validation of a new biocontainment laboratory or renovation of an existing facility.  The biosafety professional’s training and experience is usually limited to the sciences and they often lack the knowledge of basic engineering principles.  This course is intended to provide basic engineering principles that are useful in the planning, design and operation of a BSL-3 facility.

The objective of this course as part of a three-part series is to equip the biosafety professional with the basic knowledge to understand the process for planning, design, construction, maintenance and operation of a high containment laboratory. For the biosafety professional to participate in these activities, he/she needs to understanding engineering fundamentals, develop skills to ask questions in engineering terms and the confidence to question the answers.

The introductory course will provide information relevant to BSL-3 facilities for the determination of air change rates, define HVAC containment boundaries, interpret design drawings, understand HEPA filtration, provide an introduction in determining room heat loads and ventilation rates, concepts in directional airflow and room pressure differentials as well as an introduction to HVAC components (i.e. isolation valves, control valves, fast acting actuators etc.). Building on this information, there will be a step-by-step presentations on planning, design (with a checklist), construction oversight, commissioning, certification/validation/ANSI Z9.14 Standard, maintenance and operation.