Future of decon

15 July, 2021. 14.00 (BST)

There were a myriad of lessons from Op. Morlock, the Salisbury poisoning case, that had never been identified in previous incidents/exercises? What TTPs need to be captured and turned into training and requirements? As more exotic chemicals start to appear in attacks, and the potential for even more in the future is decontamination keeping pace with it? Are we seeing broad, highly effective solutions that are light and have no damaging effect on the environment? If not, when?!

Bringing together a broad range of speakers, from research organisations, as well as responders this will attempt to look out 5-10 years at what might be available and how responder organisations need to posture themselves to take advantage of it. 

Following the presentations there will be question and answer session where ideas can be shared and new concepts and technology discussed.

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Decon Workshop Flyer

Moderators include:

Professor Robert P Chilcott, PhD, CBiol, FRSB, FRSC.


Rob Chilcott has been Chair of Toxicology at the University of Hertfordshire since 2008 and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and Royal Society of Biology.   He has 25 years’ experience in the area of decontamination and medical countermeasure research and has contributed to the development of CBRN incident response policies for various EU and UK Government Departments.  Professor Chilcott’s scientific achievements include leading international programmes of research with military, academic and industrial partners, contributions to the implementation of the UK’s Initial Operational Response (IOR) and the development and introduction of new US (Federal) guidance for responding to chemical incidents (“PRISM”). He has published a number of peer-reviewed articles, patents, text books and book chapters relating to military and civilian chemical defence and contributes to the public understanding of topical issues through various media presentations.

Dr Alexander Grabowski


Dr. Alexander Grabowski is a native of Kiel, Germany. Through his career, Dr. Grabowski held various positions at the Federal Office for Defense Technology and Procurement, the Federal Ministry of Defense, and the German Scientific Institute for Protective Technologies and CBRN-Defense (WIS). Before his retirement, Dr. Alexander Grabowski served as head of the Directorate for Protective Technologies of WIS. He has headed the Steering Committees in several bilateral Technical Project Agreements. He also headed the Joint CBRN Defense Capability Development Group of NATO and represented Germany in several scientific projects of the European Defense Agency (EDA) and NATO.

Dr. Grabowski graduated from Christian-Albrechts-Universität in Kiel. He holds a Master’s as well as a doctorate degree in inorganic chemistry. He also graduated from Senior Course, NATO Defense College.

Confirmed Speakers include

Lance Brooks, Chief for the Wide Area & Infrastructure Decontamination Branch, EPA


Lance is currently at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) within the Office of Research & Development.  He currently serves as the Chief for the Wide Area & Infrastructure Decontamination Branch within the Homeland Security & Material Management Division located in the Center for Emergency Response and Environmental Solutions.  Lance also serves as the Homeland Security Research Program’s Research Area Coordinator for Wide Area Decontamination. 

Lance was previously at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) where he was Chief for the Biological Threat Reduction Department within the Cooperative Threat Reduction Directorate. Prior to DTRA, Lance was the Chief for the Chemical/Biological Research & Development Branch within the Science and Technology Directorate of the Department of Homeland Security where work included research, development, testing, and evaluation in Chemical/Biological Detection as well as Chemical/Biological Attack Resiliency program areas.

Dr Gene Stark, Director of Future Acquisition, JPEO - CBD

Gene Stark

Gene Stark has worked in the DoD chem/bio defense arena for over 20 years. After completing his PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Utah in 1997, he was awarded a German fellowship with the Technical University of Munich where he developed novel synthetic routes to key pharmaceutical intermediates.  Following his post-doc, he worked for a small biotech company in Salt Lake City preparing cell signaling molecules used for cancer research.  In 1999, he began his government career managing chemical agent swatch testing at Dugway Proving Ground (DPG).  In 2003 he was promoted to group leader of the individual protection equipment testing group at DPG where he managed all individual protective equipment testing.  Since Dec 2006, Gene has worked at the Joint Project Manager Office for Protection as the Test & Evaluation (T&E) Director, the Systems Engineering (SE) Director, the Science & Technology Advisor and the Transport Isolation System (TIS) Product Manager.  He is currently the Director of Future Acquisition. 

Dr Zakir Kazi, Research Scientist, Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC)


Dr. Zakir Kazi is leading the RN decontamination program within DRDC. His experience in RN defence includes training of first responders and specialized teams in CBRN defence, development of detector systems, and research in RN decontamination with respect to military operation and maintenance. He studied Solvent Extraction separation methods of platinum group metals using macromolecular crown ethers at Kanazawa University for his PhD degree. He pursued post-doctoral research in silica- and carbon-based nanoporous materials at Laurentian University and the National Institute for Material Science. Dr. Kazi worked at the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) from 2016 to 2018 as a Research Radiochemist where he developed techniques for measurements of trace curium isotopes in spent nuclear fuel by separating them from americium and fission products. This work paved the way to develop an alternative method of age dating spent nuclear materials.

Nissan Ashkenazi: Dep. Of Organic Chemistry, IIBR- Israel Institute for Biological Research
Nissan Ashkanazi
Nissan obtained his PhD from the Technion, Haifa, Israel in 1998, under the supervision of Prof. Amnon Stanger, focusing on physical-organic aspects of strained aromatic compounds. After which he did two post-doctoral spells, at the department of organic chemistry, Universität Hannover, Germany in the group of Prof. Holger Butenschön (1998-1999), and the department of organic chemistry, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel in the group of Prof. David Milstein (1999-2001). Both post-docs dealt with various aspects of organometallic chemistry- synthesis, structural properties and design of catalysts. In 2001 he joined the IIBR as a scientist researcher at the department of organic chemistry and has been research group leader since 2007. Between 2009-2011 he was head of the department of organic chemistry and during the years 2011-2019 was head of the IIBR chemistry division. His current research interests are various aspects of organophosphorus compounds, including chemistry, properties, structural aspects, pharmacology and toxicology.

Dr Hazam Matar: University of Hertfordshire
Hamez Mater Pic
Dr Matar obtained his PhD from the University of Surrey for his research on mitigating the dermal absorption of chemical warfare agents, this work fed into the ORCHIDS (Optimisation through Research of Chemical Incident Decontamination Systems) project, which aimed to strengthen the preparedness of European countries to incidents involving the deliberate release of potentially hazardous chemicals. Since Joining the University of Hertfordshire, Dr Matar has continued to research methods for optimising the emergency service’s response to incidents involving the release of toxic materials and has been instrumental in evaluating and optimising the decontamination efficacy of mass casualty decontamination systems in the United States. This work has led to the development of “PRISM” (Primary Response Incident Scene Management) which provides strategic, tactical and operational guidance on mass casualty decontamination during a chemical incident

Dr Kathrin Kluge, Bundeswehr Research Institute for Protective Technologies and CBRN-ProtectionKluge

Kathrin studied Biology at the Westfälische Wilhelms-University of Münster. After my graduation in 2007, she spent one year as a scientific assistant at the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven. From 2009 – 2014 she worked as a PhD student in the immunology department of the University of Konstanz where she investigated protein-protein interactions. After the dissertation, she started her current position as a scientist at the Bundeswehr Research Institute for Protective Technologies and CBRN-Protection in Munster. She deals with all issues concerning decontamination/disinfection of biological contaminations, e.g. research, development and testing of improved, environmentally friendly decontaminants, decontamination equipment and methods.

Dr. Jaleh Semmler, Senior Research Scientist, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories


Dr. Jaleh Semmler received her Ph. D. in physical chemistry from the University of Waterloo, Canada.  Her thesis was on Raman spectral studies of organic solution at high temperatures.  After graduation she was a post-doctoral fellow at the Ontario Ministry of Environment studying gas chromatography Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy of hazardous polynuclear aromatic compounds.  She joined Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, now Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, in 1992 as a research scientist, performing research in support of CANDU reactor steam generators.  In 2000 she became responsible for conducting research on and coordinating the chemical decontamination of CANDU reactors, carrying out decontaminations of research reactor loops to reduce radiation dose to personnel.  In 2012 she became involved in a Canadian group active in research supporting CBRN, and soon began a collaborative research project on infrastructure decontamination with Environment Canada, the Canadian Department of Defense and the US EPA.  Current work includes research on skin and sensitive equipment decontamination, and preparation of a practical guidance document on decontamination that could be used by the public using easily obtained materials and equipment.

Dr Gregory Peterson, Research Chemical Engineer, US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center


Dr. Peterson is a subject matter expert on toxic chemical removal on military filters, activated carbon, and novel reactive porous sorbents and the development of polymer-based composite materials for personal protective equipment. He provides technical expertise to the Department of Defense on military filtration systems and leads multiple research efforts focused on novel sorbents for protection and decontamination applications, both within the DoD and internationally.  He has authored over 100 open literature publications, 100 internal technical reports, holds or has submitted 29 patents, and has a current h-index of 42 with 7141 citations. Dr. Peterson graduated from Bucknell University in 2003 and obtained his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Delaware in 2021.

Panel Discussion with:

Dr Christina Baxter, CEO Emergency Response Tips

Christina Baxter Pic

Dr. Christina Baxter is the CEO of Emergency Response TIPS, prior to this she was the CBRNE Program Manager for the DoD’s Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office where she was responsible for identifying capability gaps in the combating terrorism CBRNE mission space, illuminating or developing innovative solutions, and delivering them to military, interagency, and law enforcement operators in the field as rapidly as possible. Dr. Baxter holds B.S. degrees in Chemistry and Environmental Science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Chris Hodge, CWA Decon Subject Matter Expert, First Line Technologies


Chris Hodge has 20 years of experience in industry and with the Navy. He began at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) in 2002 with the Chemical, Biological, and Radiological (CBR) Defense Division working CBR Decontamination development efforts. After being promoted to senior scientist for his contributions and leadership of numerous projects in multiple divisions focused on delivering technology to the warfighter, Chris transitioned into the supervisory ranks as the Head of the CBR Concepts & Experimentation Branch. He currently serves as the Director of Technical Development for NSWCDD, where his primary responsibilities include K-12 STEM outreach programs and University engagement activities for the command. He also serves as a consultant, providing subject matter expertise regarding decontamination research and testing as well as the science behind the development and utility of Dahlgren Decon.

Corey Collings, Training Specialist, First Line Techology


Corey Collings has 16 years of experience dealing with hazardous materials, spanning service in the Army conducting counter-explosive hazard operations, in the National Guard performing search and extraction, technical rescue, and mass decontamination, and in law enforcement dealing with dangerous street drugs such as fentanyl.  He has a bachelor’s degree in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and has spent the past two years instructing federal, state, and local agencies on modern technological and procedural developments with a focus on decontamination and mass casualty response. 

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