ISU vet medicine professor appointed to National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity

AMES, Iowa -- U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt has appointed Dr. James Roth to the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB). Roth is director of the Center for Food Security and Public Health and Clarence Hartley Covault Distinguished Professor in Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University.

Roth is one of 24 appointees to the board, which is holding its inaugural meeting this week in Bethesda, Md.

The board will advise federal departments and agencies on ways to promote biosecurity in life science research. It will recommend specific strategies to minimize the possibility that knowledge and technologies emanating from important biological research will be misused to threaten public health or national security.

In a statement issued June 29, Secretary Leavitt said, "We all realize some research that results in new medical treatments, agricultural advances, and biodefense countermeasures could end up in the hands of terrorists who could twist it for their own purposes. The NSABB will provide a forum to help educate scientists on biosecurity and a means for the federal government to receive advice on how to advance scientific knowledge without compromising security."

Members of the advisory board have a broad range of expertise in molecular biology, microbiology, infectious diseases, biosafety, public health, veterinary medicine, plant health, national security, biodefense and law enforcement.

Roth is a professor of veterinary microbiology and preventive medicine. Since 1995, he has been executive director of the Institute for International Cooperation in Animal Biologics, which fosters worldwide improvement of animal health and productivity through effective use of biologics to control animal disease. In 2002, he also became director of the Center for Food Security and Public Health, a Centers for Disease Control Specialty Center for public health preparedness in veterinary medicine and zoonotic diseases.

Roth has served on two other federal advisory panels bthe White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Agroterrorism Countermeasures Blue Ribbon Panel and the Interagency Weapons of Mass Destruction Counter Measures Working Group.