Security & Engineering Biology

The potential for engineering biology to be used for nefarious purposes is a concern for the engineering biology research community, government agencies who seek to mitigate such threats, and society at large. We facilitate government security stakeholder and researcher dialogue and enable processes to advance security. Building on these foundations of security in research and alignment with government, our outreach efforts promote the economic benefits of engineering biology and build confidence that those benefits are achievable without taking on unacceptable risks of misuse. The group is currently working on a number of diverse projects to improve security and security awareness associated in engineering biology. This group is not limited to a traditional definition of biosecurity, but considers any potential security issues that affect or are affected by engineering biology.

Programs & Activities

  • OBSERV Pilot Event

    Obfuscating Biological Sequences to Ethically Reveal Vulnerabilities   The OBSERV Pilot Event has been postponed. Over the course of several months, OBSERV was developed in close consultation with subject matter […]

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  • Malice Analysis: Assessing Biotechnology Research for Security Concerns

    EBRC’s Malice Analysis Workshops endeavor to build and support security awareness within the engineering biology community. Workshops train researchers and others associated with engineering biology to evaluate their own work for security concerns. By providing participants with the tools and framework to engage in this type of analysis, EBRC hopes participants will be prepared to consider, discuss, and improve security in engineering biology research throughout their careers. These efforts are funded by the US Department of Homeland Security.

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  • improving security

    Improving Security Considerations in Engineering Biology Research

    The EBRC Improving Security Considerations program is a broad effort to encourage researchers in engineering biology to consider the security implications of their work. Through workshops and other educational activities, we aim to establish norms and practices for researchers and the research-support community to better incorporate security into the research enterprise.

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  • Workshops with the National Security Community

    EBRC holds periodic workshops and other events to bring engineering biology researchers and the national security community together to discuss trends in the field, address potential concerns, and establish long term relationships.

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Working Group

The Security Working Group is comprised of synthetic biology professionals from academia, industry, and government who keep abreast of new developments in the field and communicate the security implications of these developments to appropriate stakeholders. This group also serves as a resource for external organizations to draw upon for technical expertise from practitioners with an understanding of security implications.

Chair: Kate Adamala
Staff Director: Becky Mackelprang

Security News

  • March 4, 2019

    North Korea’s Less-Known Military Threat: Biological Weapons

    Military analysts are increasingly concerned about the nation’s “advanced, underestimated and highly lethal” bioweapons program.

  • March 4, 2019

    National Biodefense Strategy

    National Biodefense Strategy

  • February 16, 2019

    New Addition to the EBRC staff

    We welcome Dr. Clem Fortman to the EBRC staff at the Director for National Security Engagements!

  • February 16, 2019

    PNNL has developed a new, publicly available, tool

    PNNL has developed a new, publicly available, tool for understanding the current state of the U.S. biodefense enterprise. The Biodefense Policy Landscape Analysis Tool (B-PLAT, v2.0) →.

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