The DNA databases and commercial DNA synthesis discussion

What are the risks of attacks on DNA databases?” Are our current strategies enough to block the procurement of DNA for malicious purposes?

The DNA databases and commercial DNA synthesis discussion will take place on Tuesday, March 23


Rebecca Mortiz

Rebecca Moritz, Biosafety Director, Office of the Vice President for Research, Colorado State University. Rebecca is a biosafety and biosecurity expert with a Bachelor of Science in Bacteriology and a Master of Science in Medical Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She serves as the Biosafety Director at Colorado State University and is also the Responsible Official for the university’s Select Agent Program. She is a Certified Biosafety Professional with the American Biological Safety Association International (ABSA) and a former ABSA Councilor. Currently, Moritz is a member of multiple committees and co-chair of the Executive Steering Committee for ABSA International’s 2021 Biosecurity Symposium.


susan cropp

Susan Cropp, Ph.D, Management and Program Analyst with the Chemical & Biological Countermeasures Unit in the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate of the FBI. Susan began her 18-year career with the FBI as Forensic Examiner in the Mitochondrial DNA Unit at the FBI Laboratory.  Dr. Cropp is currently serving as a Management and Program Analyst with the Chemical & Biological Countermeasures Unit in the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate of the FBI, participating in outreach and countermeasure initiatives to prevent the production, acquisition, and misuse of biological agents. Presentation: Importance of Safeguarding Genetic Information

Jean Peccoud

Jean Peccoud, Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Colorado State University, Abell Endowed Char in Synthetic Energy. Dr. Peccoud’s research program focuses on synthetic biology informatics. His group combines computational and experimental efforts to develop predictive models of behaviors encoded in synthetic DNA sequences. He is particularly interested in using methods from synthetic biology to develop a new generation of vaccines against emerging diseases. Peccoud is also actively engaged in efforts to understand the security implications of synthetic biology. He is the founding Editor-in-Chief of the journal Synthetic Biology published by Oxford University Press.  Presentation: Certification of Engineered DNA Molecules 

James Diggans

James Diggans, Distinguished Scientist of Bioinformatics and Biosecurity at Twist Bioscience. James leads the biosecurity program at Twist Bioscience, a DNA synthesis company based in South San Francisco, CA. He holds a PhD from George Mason University in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics and has worked in target discovery, molecular diagnostic development and biodefense. His research has included methods for adaptive detection of biological weapons release, machine learning-based cancer diagnosis, and novel algorithmic approaches to discerning intent in oligonucleotide-length DNA synthesis requests. At Twist, he leads development and operation of Twist’s biosecurity screening system and trade compliance programs to power safe, secure silicon-based DNA synthesis at record scale. Presentation: Sequence Screening at Scale