Biosecurity faculty

Biosecurity and Biothreat Reduction: Biobanking, Bioinformatics, Biosafety,
Biosecurity and Bioethics concerns in the aftermath of the largest Ebola outbreak
known to man. Also called “The B5 Session”,

The B5 Faculty Members

Biosecurity is a strategic and integrated approach that encompasses the policy and regulatory frameworks (including instruments and activities) that analyse and manage risks in the sectors of food safety, animal life and health, and plant life and health, including associated environmental risk.

Biosecurity covers the introduction of plant pests, animal pests and diseases, and zoonoses, the introduction and release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and their products, and the introduction and management of invasive alien species and genotypes. Biosecurity is a holistic concept of direct relevance to the sustainability of agriculture, food safety, and the protection of the environment, including biodiversity.

Piers D Millett, Ph.D. is Principal of Biosecure Ltd, a company dedicated to safeguarding the bioeconomy. Dr. Millett currently consults for the World Health Organization supporting their R&D efforts. Piers also holds a Global Fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington D.C., where he focuses on the implications of, and responses to, the security considerations of modern biology and biotechnology. Until June 2014, Dr Millett was Deputy Head of the Implementation Support Unit for the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), a treaty for which he worked for over a decade. Trained originally as a microbiologist,

Piers is a Chartered Biologist and works closely with the citizen science movement, synthetic biologists, the biotechnology industry as well as governments. His efforts have seen him collaborate with a range of intergovernmental organisations spanning health (human and animal), humanitarian law, disarmament, security, border control, law enforcement, and weapons of mass destruction – both inside and out of the United Nations system. Piers is also a founder member of the Safety Committee of the International Genetically Engineered Machines Competition.

Kenneth I. Ugwu, P. Eng, Senior  Biocontainment Advisor, Department of Global Affairs Canada/ Public Health Agency of Canada

Ken is an expert in Biocontainment Engineering with over 28 years experience. He joined the Canada public service in 1992 after working as a Senior Design Engineer with a couple of reputable Canadian consulting engineering companies. He has designed numerous BSL2-3 facilities and was the mechanical engineer responsible for the design review, construction and commissioning of Canada’s only BSL4 facility. In his previous position as The Director of Engineering and Science Support, he was responsible for the design review, approval, commissioning and yearly inspection of hundreds of BLS 2-4 laboratories in Canada. He now provides expert advice for national and international projects. Some of his international projects experience include seven BSL3 laboratories in Trinidad & Tobago, Jordan, Kenya, Ghana, Mexico and Nigeria. He played a major role in the development and publication of the Canadian Biosafety and Biosecurity Standards and Guidelines.

Ken is an international authority in Biocontainment Engineering and in 2009 and 2012 was part of a WHO/UN inspection team for the inspection of the Russian and US BSL4 laboratories handling Variola Virus (smallpox).  He had been engaged by WHO for many years as a Consultant in Biocontainment Engineering and participated as a Trainer for regional strengthening of biosafety and biosecurity in a number of countries (Brazil, China, Kenya, Guatemala, India, Romania, South Africa).

A graduate of the University of Ottawa, Canada in Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Management (1986) and Yaba College of Technology in Instrumentation and Control (1978)

A Licensed Professional Engineer in Canada and a member of the American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the American Biological Safety Association (ABSA) and represents Canada in the American National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) committee responsible for the technical requirements for the certification of Biological Safety Cabinets.

Dr. Jim Vaught spent 14 years (1999-2013) at the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI), most recently as the Chief of the Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research Branch (BBRB) in the Cancer Diagnosis Program.  He has been working in the field of biorepository and biospecimen science for over 20 years. In 1999, he was one of the founding members of the International Society for Biological & Environmental Repositories (ISBER) and was its second President. He has provided biobanking consulting services to a number of organizations including: the US CDC; Shanghai Clinical Research Institute; and the National Marrow Donor Program. He serves on a number of biobank advisory groups including; the National Disease Research Institute Board of Directors; Telethon-Italy Genetic Biobank Network; and the Biobanques Network (France) Scientific Board.

He is the author of about 70 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. From 2006 to 2012 he was Senior Editor for Biospecimens and Biorepositories for the AACR journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention. In 2012 he became Editor-in-Chief of Biopreservation and Biobanking, the official journal of ISBER.  He is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the International Prevention Research Institute (Lyon).

Dr. Vaught is the immediate Past-President of ISBER and a member of the Board of Directors.

Rebecca Katz is an Associate Professor of International Health and co-director of the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University . Her research is focused on public health preparedness, global health diplomacy, and health security. Since 2004,

Dr. Katz has been an expert consultant to the U.S. Department of State, working on issues related to the Biological Weapons Convention and emerging and pandemic threats. She has a BA from Swarthmore College, an MPH from Yale University, and a PhD from Princeton University.

Rebecca Hoile, Interpol. Currently working as a Programme Coordinator within the CBRNE Sub-Directorate, INTERPOl, Lyon.

A Forensic microbiologist and expert trainer with more than thirteen years working with Counter Terrorism, national and international law enforcement, private industry and NGO’s in the area of Bioterrorism prevention and response. Recognised as an expert in the field of forensic microbiology, biosecurity and operational response to threats or acts of bioterrorism, providing capacity building and training, expertise and resources to international law enforcement.

One of a handful of Forensic Microbiologists within Australia, I was employed by the NSW Police Force Firensic Counter Terrorism since 2003, primarily in the role of managing the forensic response to acts of bioterrorism or biocrime, which includes the development and implementation of training for both Police and other first responders such as NSW Ambulance and NSW Fire and Rescue. I have also for the past 9 years been a member of the INTERPOL Chemical, Biological and Radiological Prevention Group and have developed and delivered a number of training programmes around the globe to both Policing and Public Health agencies. My skills are in the forensics, counter terrorism, training methodologies, CBR response, Bioterrorism evidence collection and operational procedures, adult teaching and course development.

Pasquale De Blasio. I am an Engineer with several years of experience in industrial and academic positions at the international level. I was the Founder of the following Biobanking initiatives: (1) Integrated Systems Engineering S.r.l. (, (present affiliation), involved EU Research Project in Management and Banking of Spem and iPS cells. ISENET, is also leader in Pathology Tissue and Cell Microarrys Technology; (2) BioRep Srl (, (up to 2011) largest European “Biorepository Service Provider” developed in collaboration with the “Coriell Institute for Medical Research USA (

I am also the Founder President of the “European, Middle-Eastern and African Society for Biopreservation and Biobanking” (; and member of: H3Africa (, member of the “Marble Arch International Working Group of Biobanking Experts” and member of the “International Society of Biological and Environmental Biorepositories” ( I can contribute to the consortium activities in the organization and management of a Process Lab and Biorepositories activities and logistics and if needed on the design and realization of Clean Rooms (BL4/BL3), Labs and Biorepository infrastructure.  

Oyewale Tomori, Redeemer’s University, Nigeria. He received a Doctorate degree in veterinary medicine from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria as well as a Doctorate degree, Ph.D in virology from the University of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria where he was appointed professor of virology in 1981, the same year he received the United State of America Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Service Certificate for contributions to Lassa Fever Research. Three years (1984) after his appointment as a professor of virology, he was appointed the head of the Department of Virology at the University of Ibadan Tomori research interest focuses on, viral infections, including Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever, Yellow Fever, Lassa Fever.

He served as the Regional Virologist for the World Health Organization Africa Region ( 1994-2004) before he was appointed as the pioneer vice chancellor of Redeemer’s University, Ogun State, Nigeria, a tenure that ended in 2011. He is a receiver of the Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM) award (2002), the country’s highest award for academic excellence. He is the incumbent President of the Nigerian Academy of Science

Ama Kyerewaa Edwin. I am a physician clinical psychologist and bioethicist in Ghana. I am committed to helping clinicians and other professionals meet a standard of excellence in health care through policy development, consultation, education, training, and research in bioethics. I am also committed to helping organizations address organizational ethical challenges and integrate their missions into their organizations. I am affable, dedicated to excellence and articulate. I am self-motivating, hardworking, a critical thinker and have a quest for knowledge and excellence.

I have the ability to work independently and as part of a team. I am dedicated to research integrity, especially ethical research in vulnerable populations, genetics research, biobanking and biosecurity. I have a passionate desire to see scientific and ethical multinational research done in Africa in general and Ghana in particular. In this vein, I have been a member of the Ghana Health Service Ethics Review Committee (ERC) from January 2009 to date and founding member of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital Institutional Review Board (KBTH-IRB) Member from its inauguration in September 2015. I have a rich experience with the operations and processes used for ethical decision-making, standards used to regulate human subject’s research, and the challenges facing ethics review committees in Ghana and Africa. I do training for various IRBs in Ghana and I promote a culture of ethical research in organizations in Ghana and Africa.

Major J. Atwoki Tagaswiire, BSc, MSc, CSci, CChem, FRSC is Commanding Officer of the NBC Regiment in the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces. He is the Uganda National Focal Point for the EU CBRN risk mitigation Centres of Excellence Initiative, and Uganda Contact Point for the Biological Weapons Convention. He possesses a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry/Biochemistry, and Master of Science Degree in toxicology from University of Surrey, Guildford, UK.  The Royal Society of Chemistry elected him to the distinction of Fellow of the Society.  His awards include: Chartered Scientist and Chartered Chemist. He is OPCW qualified expert in toxicology and forensics. His expertise is in disarmament and non-proliferation of the Weapons of Mass Destruction in a changing world.

He served as the Regional Virologist for the World Health Organization Africa Region ( 1994-2004) before he was appointed as the pioneer vice chancellor of Redeemer’s University, Ogun State, Nigeria, a tenure that ended in 2011. He is a receiver of the Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM) award (2002), the country’s highest award for academic excellence. He is the incumbent President of the Nigerian Academy of Science

Modupe S. Taylor-Pearce is a scholar and practitioner of organizational management and leadership. Born in Sierra Leone, and raised in Sierra Leone, Ghana, Kenya, and the USA, he is currently the Managing Partner of CTI Ltd, a management consulting company that specializes in leadership enhancement and crisis management.

He is a born-again Christian, and describes himself as a “sinner saved by grace.” He earned his BSc degree at the United States Military Academy (West Point). After West Point, he returned to Sierra Leone, where he served in the Army during the Civil War.  He later returned to the USA to complete his Masters in Engineering and Manufacturing at Cornell University. He also holds a PhD in business leadership from Capella University.

With his business and military leadership background, he has successfully led the financial recovery of various companies in the USA, Africa, and Europe.  Modupe is married to his bride of 18 years, Renee, and they are blessed with 3 children. He enjoys reading and playing the piano.

Julie R. Sinclair, MA, DVM, MPH, Dipl. ACVPM

Julie R. Sinclair is the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID)/One Health Office’s Liaison to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). Prior to her current appointment,

Dr. Sinclair was a Senior Quarantine Veterinary Medical Officer in the CDC/NCEZID’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine where she served as both a medical officer and subject matter expert in zoonotic diseases, border health, and importation policies and regulations (June 2007 – January 2016). She received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Kansas State University and a Masters of Arts in Near East Studies from Princeton University before joining the U.S. Peace Corps as a Small Animal Husbandry volunteer in Togo.

She then interned with the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division/Congressional Research Service/ U.S. Library of Congress before returning overseas as an Associate Logistic Officer/Junior Professional Officer with the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees in Malawi. In 1995 she returned to Kansas State University to pursue a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine following which she practiced veterinary medicine in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In 2003, she received a Masters of Public Health (Epidemiology) and a Vaccine Science Certificate from Johns Hopkins University.  Dr. Sinclair then worked as a research microbiologist on an E. coli O157:H7 tenderized beef project for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In 2004, she joined CDC and the U.S. Public Health Service as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer assigned to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. With CDC, she has deployed to India, Hurricane Katrina, Michigan (2009 H1N1 influenza school outbreaks), Haiti, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, and the Dominican Republic (U.S.S. Kearsarge) working on projects as varied as polio, cholera, animal health and immunization, human influenza, rabies, border health, and Ebola.

Roselida Achieng  Owuor, Principal Scientist, (NACOSTI)

She is the National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI), Kenya. She specialise in Biosecurity, Biosafety, Biotechnology and Molecular Microbiology.


  • Alternate National Focal Point of Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC)
  • Coordinates BTWC activities in Kenya
  • Alternate National Liaison Officer of International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB)
  • Coordinates ICGEB activities in Kenya
  • Manages Research Calls (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Calls) under the Government of Kenya (GoK) Research Endowment Fund that is disbursed by NACOSTI


  • BTWC International Advisory Committee Member
  • Biological Committee, CBRN Centre of Excellence National committee
  • Alternate Board of Governors Member of ICGEB
  • Alternate Standing Committee Member of ICGEB Board of Governors
  • Member of African Biological Safety association (AfBSA)
  • Member of Biotechnology Committee under Biotechnology Research Program hosted by Kenya Medical Research Centre


Heather Sheeley BA , MSc. CBiol. CIOSH FISTR
Heather has for many years been active in the international biosafety safety and biosecurity community, having been President of the European Biosafety Association, Co-Chair of the predecessor to IFBA and Executive Chair of the Institute of Safety in Technology and Research. She is an elected Fellow of ISTR and Honorary Member of EBSA.

She has considerable experience and expertise in high containment, design and operations and safe working practices in research and industry. Currently working in Public Health England where she leads the Biosafety and Biosecurity programme. Her role has permitted participation in many initiatives in biosecurity for UK and other Governments, NGOs, WHO, Global Partnership for non-proliferation and the EU. She was recently commissioned to write guides for WHO AFRO on biosecurity and biobanking for application in Africa.

Dr. Ida Biunno (First Researcher at Institute for Genetic and Biomedical Research of the National Research Council (IRGB-CNR), Milano- Italy.

Educational Background: Bachelor Degree in Biology and Psychology from Temple University, PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia-PA (USA) and Doctoral Degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Milan-Italy.

Current Positions: Senior Scientist since 1988 at CNR in Milano and Coordinator of the Stem Cell Research Unit of the Multimedica Hospital and  Foundation

Previous Positions: Research Associate at National Cancer Institute of Milan from 1982-1988 Scientific Director in Biorep, Milano-Italy from 2005-2010

Accademic Appointments: 2008–to date Adjunct Associate Professor of Biology at the Biotechnology Center of Temple University Philadelphia-USA

Mentor for over twenty PhD thesis in the field of Biology, Medical and Molecular Oncology, Applied Genetics Industrial Biotechnology.

Co-editor of a book entitled “A multidisciplinary approach to dissect Alzheimer’s disease”. She holds one patent on DMSO free cryopreservation reagent useful in stem cell technology.

She has and is PI in EU (NeuroStemCells, NeuroSteemCellRepair and NeuroScreen) financed projects and national financed projects (FIRB, PRIN and Regione Lombardia) on human stem cells derivation and biobanking.

Research activity: the main scientific activities are:

1) use of epigenetic/epigenomics modifications to re-program somatic cells into insulin producing cells;

(2) analyse the biochemical function of the cell quality control mechanisms (ERAD/UPR) in a variety of cellular physiological and pathological conditions including human cancer stem cells;

3) biobanking of highly controlled pluripotent human stem cells

Total Publications: 99  pub-med cited and a total of 130 including un-cited paper H-index:30 Total citations: 2150

Tianna Brand is the Head of the Programmes Department, responsible for Bio-threat Reduction and Strategic Partnerships at the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).  Prior to her role at the OIE, her career began in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency where over a decade gained a wealth of experience in animal and public health and in laboratory biosafety in a variety of leadership roles with and established an extensive network of contacts in the health and security communities at the national, regional and international level.

David Jones has spent 35 years working in the fields of environmental health, occupational health and safety and public health. He has experience in law enforcement and the interpretation of and drafting of legislation as well as training, policy development and investigation of communicable and notifiable diseases. David is currently the National Manager of the Safety Health and Environment Department of the National Health Laboratory Service, an organization that provides medical laboratory services to in excess of 80% of the population of South Africa through in excess of 350 laboratories situated in more than 262 sites spread throughout South Africa. David’s qualifications include a National Diploma and Higher Diploma in Public Health, Master of Public Health and Post Graduate Diplomas in Health Services Management and Occupational Hygiene..

Manuel Lannaud is a Policy Advisor at Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), working on the Ebola R&D initiative. The initiative is aimed at promoting the shared use of EVD/EID data and biological material through the creation of a data sharing platform and a network of biobanks.

Mr Lannaud has worked with MSF since 1999 in various operational capacities in Africa, the former Soviet Union and the Middle East. He later served as operational policy and advocacy advisor in the U.S.A. and desk manager in Latin America.

He holds a Masters degree in Process Engineering from the University of Compiègne, France and a Masters of Public Policy from Princeton University, U.S.A.