On May 15, 2012, JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments) will publish two articles in partnership with the United States government's Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). JoVE is proud to present the work from Temple University's Dr. Chris Schafmeister and State University of New York Buffalo's Dr. David Pawlowski and Dr. Richard Karalus.
The support of scientists conducting research for DTRA has significant ramifications for identifying, treating, and preventing the outbreak of defense threats. DTRA exists to safeguard America and its allies from weapons of mass destruction (WMD), including chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear weapons and high-yield explosives (CBRNE), by providing capabilities to reduce, eliminate, and counter the threat and mitigate its effects. Because the techniques and technologies developed in DTRA sponsored laboratories promise a safer world and will benefit from distribution in a highly visual format, DTRA has sponsored the research and publication of their scientists in JoVE.
From Temple University, award winning scientist Dr. Chris Schafmeister, working with Conrad Pfeiffer, developed a biochemical technique that produces new, complex polymers called bis-peptides. Dr. Schafmeister tells us, "The building blocks and the final molecule are special. Our molecules bind with two bonds to each molecule, unlike the typical single bond, making a stiff, ladder-like construct." Dr. Schafmeister won the "Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award" from the Chemical and Biological Defense Science and Technology conference for his work. Dr. Schafmeister, choosing to publish his research in JoVE, notes, "This procedure demonstrates cutting edge capabilities that don't exist anywhere else. Hopefully, they will lead to products in the next decade far beyond anything we can produce right now."
In the second DTRA sponsored JoVE article, Dr. David Pawlowski and his colleague Dr. Richard Karalus publish their procedure on the isolation of nucleic acids and proteins, without electricity or laboratory support. This work has significant implications for real time threat monitoring. Dr. Pawlowski explains, "This is a handheld electricity-free device which can be used in the field by the warfighter, in conjunction with their detection platforms." He continues, stating that this technique will "be useful for detection of typical biological warfare agents." Dr. Pawlowski notes that he and his colleagues were incredibly satisfied with their experience publishing in this format. "My reason for publishing this in JoVE is that a video article offered us the opportunity to provide a visualization of this small, handheld tool. Giving a simple, verbal description is difficult, so a JoVE publication helps with training the warfighters how to use the technique."
JoVE is proud to work with these unique scientists and to support DTRA's mission. Dr. Nandita Singh, Senior Science Editor at JoVE, attended the annual Chemical and Biological Defense Science and Technology Conference, this past November, where she encountered the wide variety of research funded by DTRA. She notes, "The research funded by DTRA is very cutting edge and exciting. I look forward to our partnership because the JoVE format will allow the scientific community to accurately replicate the methodologies developed by DTRA funding. This partnership poses a unique opportunity for JoVE to help support military services and their allies in an effort to promote counterproliferation, nonproliferation and WMD reduction issues. Carl Brown Sr., DTRA Staff Director for Strategic Communication & Outreach says, for DTRA, this partnership is ideal, as "it is essential that the national security and scientific communities leverage efforts and activities to maximize global health security."