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University of Maryland School of Medicine publishes scientific paper on 2001 anthrax attacks
Date:5/3/2011

D., associate professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and associate director for genomics at the Institute for Genome Sciences. "The science was a critical component of the Amerithrax case. Without genomics, it would have been extremely difficult to narrow the pool of potential suspects."

"Before Amerithrax, no one appreciated the precision, accuracy and reliability that this type of genomics can offer as a microbial forensic technique," says first author David Rasko, Ph.D., assistant professor for microbiology and immunology at the School of Medicine and a research scientist at the Institute for Genome Sciences. "To this day, this is still the only case in which microbiology and genomics have been used in a criminal investigation. Microbial forensics would be a critical investigative tool if another bioterror attack were ever to strike the U.S."

The newly published paper describes the work that the FBI assigned to Institute for Genome Sciences faculty members including Drs. Ravel and Rasko as well as the institute's director, Claire Fraser-Liggett, Ph.D., professor of medicine and microbiology and immunology at the School of Medicine, from 2001 through 2003. The scientists worked with a team of investigators including Paul Keim, Ph.D., regents professor and division director at Northern Arizona University and the Translational Genomics Research Institute, as well as military and FBI investigators.

"We have assembled a world-class team of genomics researchers at the Institute for Genome Sciences," says E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A, vice president for medical affairs, University of Maryland, and John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and dean, University of Maryland School of Medicine. "Their pioneering work in the field of microbial forensics is typical of their cutting-edge research. We are proud to have them on our team, leading us into a new age of science."

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Contact: Karen Robinson
karobinson@som.umaryland.edu
410-706-7590
University of Maryland Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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