Bioscience

Professor weighs dual use of scientific research

July 7, 2010

By Flinn Foundation

[Source: Inside NAU] – The afternoon sunlight streams through the large, picture window framing the San Francisco Peaks over Paul Keim’s shoulder. As director of NAU’s Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics, Keim sits in a seemingly peaceful and serene office, an odd juxtaposition for a man protected behind three levels of security.

That is because Keim is a government operative—but perhaps not in the traditional sense of the term.

A world-renowned expert in microbial forensics, Keim earned the nickname “bioterrorism warrior” in the media for his involvement in identifying strains of anthrax used in terrorist attacks in 1993 and 2001. Recently named interim chair for the U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, Keim finds himself the spokesperson when significant scientific findings are released.

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