Homeland Security Research Webinar Series

USGS/EPA Collaboration: Bacillus anthracis in American Soils: From Sample Collection to Data Application 

March 21, 2019, 2:00-3:00 PM ET

Please register at https://www.epa.gov/homeland-security-research/forms/homeland-security-research-webinar-usgsepa-collaboration-bacillus

Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent for anthrax, is naturally occurring in soil and can persist for many decades. Following an intentional wide-area or indoor aerosol release of B. anthracis, there is the potential for contamination of soil surrounding the affected area. Decisions regarding site clean-up will rely on knowledge of fate and transport of the pathogen as well as having access to sampling and analysis methods to determine extent of contamination and if decontamination efforts have been successful. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have been conducting collaborative research in this topic area since 2010. This presentation will discuss the joint USGS and EPA efforts to develop a comprehensive approach for informing remediation of B. anthracis in soil and how data gleaned from such efforts might be applied for decision making purposes.

Speaker Bios: 
Dale Griffin
United States Geological Survey (USGS)
Dr. Griffin received a B.S. in Microbiology, in Public Health, and a with a research focus on the use of molecular methods for detection of standard water quality indicators, alternate indicators, pathogens, and source-tracking microorganisms in aquatic environments from the University of South Florida. Dr. Griffin is currently employed by the USGS as an environmental public health microbiologist and is working on microbial water quality issues, long-range dust storm associated dispersion of microorganisms around the globe, and how the geochemistry of soils control the background distribution of pathogens.

Erin Silvestri
United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Erin E. Silvestri has in Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology from the University of Michigan, School of Public Health and a certificate in Geographic Information Systems from Northern Kentucky University. She has worked for the EPA's National Homeland Security Research Center (NHSRC) for 12.5 years. She is currently working for NHSRC's Threat and Consequence Assessment Division. Her focus has been on of sampling and processing methods for pathogens in soil and development of an online tool to document biological sampling and analysis plans.

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