Basic research meets biodefense

Meeting draws hundreds to discuss latest findings and new focus for basic science.

Eugene Russo(erusso@the-scientist.com)
Mar 13, 2003

An American Society of Microbiology meeting in Baltimore, MD, this week drew hundreds of scientists from dozens of countries to discuss the basic science of biodefense, making the conference a first of its kind, according to organizers. Presenters discussed a wide array of research related to biowarfare countermeasures: mechanisms of pathogenesis, antibiotics, antivirals, innate immunity and new applied and theoretical technologies. Participants also pondered how the influx of government biodefense funding is likely to fundamentally change the basic biomedical research agenda in the US and elsewhere.

"I'm not going to be so presumptuous as to say that we're going to provide programmatic direction," National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director Anthony Fauci told meeting participants. "We're going to have a forum in which the programmatic direction will evolve. Basic research, as we all know, is the foundation."

Some 800 scientists from 27 countries attended the meeting; organizers received...

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