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K-State Today

May 7, 2015



Biosecurity Research Institute hosts first international conference for information technologists who support high-containment research facilities

By Will Baldwin

The Biosecurity Research Institute hosted the inaugural Containment Information Technology Conference 2015 from April 29 to May 1 to address common challenges that information technology teams encounter when supporting research at high-containment facilities — biosafety level-3, biosafety level-3 agriculture and biosafety level-4.

Supporting high-containment research facilities with technology is difficult. Regulatory compliance requirements, inspector teams, decontamination procedures for electronics, scientific data collection and cybersecurity are challenges that each facility faces individually and was compounded by the lack of a cohesive network of information technology professionals at high-containment research facilities.

Major themes included cybersecurity, regulatory compliance, facilitating research with innovative technology, and containment communications.

The conference was very successful with 46 participants. A new network has been born. Participants are engaging each other actively, and working groups are being formed such as the Animal Telemetry working group that will address the specific challenges of collecting real-time and aggregated animal health metrics in a high-containment environment.

Participating universities included Boston University, Colorado State University, George Mason University, Texas A&M, University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of Florida, University of Missouri, University of Wisconsin at Madison and the University of Saskatchewan.

Participating federal agencies included the Department of Homeland Security-Science and Technology, Department of Homeland Security-Plum Island Animal Disease Center, National Institutes of Health, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, and the United States Air Force-Air National Guard.

Participating corporations included HID Global Inc., Siemens Industry Inc., and Vocera Inc.