DTRA Presents Chemical and Biological Defense Award to Anne Kusterbeck

12/21/2007 - 76-07r
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Ms. Anne Kusterbeck, Assistant Director of the Center for Bio/Molecular Science and Engineering at the Naval Research Laboratory, is the recipient of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency's (DTRA's) 2007 Chemical and Biological Defense Program International Award. DTRA presents this award to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to furthering collaborative research between the United States and her allies or between an allied nation and the United States.

The citation notes that, while detailed to the Office of Naval Research Global (ONRG) in London, Ms. Kusterbeck made "significant efforts to maintain, renew, and start relations with a number of international research groups such as the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory. This scientist has played a leading role in all activities toward the Action Group-13 working group, to include briefing the results of the working group to other Technical Cooperation Program (TTCP) groups and senior managers, co-organizing the 2005 International Workshop on Defense Biotechnology in Southhampton, UK, and authoring a formal TTCP Technical Report in 2006."

In 2003, Ms. Kusterbeck was asked by the TTCP materials group to organize and chair a DARPA-sponsored workshop to examine the increasing importance of bio-focused research for the Department of Defense and its allies. With Dr. Bhakta Rath, she planned, organized and led the multi-national workshop on Application of Biotechnical Advances to Materials and Sensing Systems. The outcome of that workshop was the formation of an Action Group, AG13.

The AG13 panel was tasked to identify research areas of interest to the defense communities and develop collaborative research programs across the member nations. Ms. Kusterbeck was appointed the U.S. Navy representative to the panel that included members from the U.S., the United Kingdom, Australia/New Zealand and Canada. For past four years she has worked closely with the AG13 chairman, and has contributed significantly to the progress of the group towards its objectives.

In addition to her TTCP efforts, Ms. Kusterbeck was detailed to ONRG London in the summer of 2005. While there, she assessed defense-related research in biotechnology at the international level to determine areas that were of future utility to the U.S. Navy and advise ONRG on the merits of the work.

In April 2007, she co-authored a paper presented at the 1st US-UK Conference on Chem/Bio Detection held in London. This presentation led directly to a request by the British Royal Chemical Society that the group write a book on biotechnology research for defense applications. This book is currently in preparation. In addition, the AG13 is continuing to pursue funding for a collaborative project on autonomous sensors for chemical, biological, radiological/nuclear and explosives detection.

Ms. Kusterbeck has worked with her colleagues for more than 20 years to develop small antibody-based sensors for explosives and drugs of abuse and has more than 80 publications and patents. She has worked extensively with the security and law enforcement community, having completed projects for the Federal Aviation Administration and U.S. Customs. She has also contributed to environmental security as principal investigator on numerous projects to demonstrate and validate portable sensors for on-site testing of soil and groundwater for trace contaminants of the explosives TNT and RDX at U.S. military bases. In response to the attack on the USS Cole, she coordinated the Force Protection: Explosives Detection Experts Workshop held at NRL in August, 2001 that brought together leading researchers in the field to discuss the way forward for detection technologies.

Ms. Kusterbeck has a B.S. in biology from Virginia's College of William and Mary, conducted postgraduate work in biology at the University of Georgia, and holds an M.S. in management from the University of Maryland. She is the recipient of numerous NRL awards, including an Edison Patent Award, two Technology Transfer Awards, a 75th Anniversary Innovation Award, and several group achievement awards. In 2003, Ms. Kusterbeck received the Applied Science Award from the NRL Edison Chapter of Sigma Xi. In 1992, Ms. Kusterbeck received a technology transfer award from the Federal Laboratory Consortium and the Office of National Drug Control Policy. She serves as the Navy liaison for Biotechnology to The Technical Cooperation Program Materials Group and has co-organized several international workshops on explosives detection and biotechnology for defense applications.

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