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    Meeting of the Minds: DTRA-JSTO is Creating a Pipeline for MCM Discovery

    Meeting of the Minds: DTRA-JSTO is Creating a Pipeline for MCM Discovery

    Courtesy Photo | 3D illustration of pathogens and lymphocytes of the immune system. (Christoph...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    Defense Threat Reduction Agency's Chemical and Biological Technologies Department

    Under the Chemical and Biological Defense Program (CBDP), the Department of Defense (DoD) seeks to align novel scientific and technological capabilities for medical countermeasure (MCM) discovery and development against emerging chemical and biological threats. To advance that mission, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s (DTRA) Chemical and Biological Technologies Department in its role as the Joint Science and Technology Office (JSTO) hosted a virtual Planning for Research and Optimization of Medical Investigations and Scientific Engagement (PROMISE) Workshop in January 2021 to engage with DoD labs and Department of Energy (DoE) national laboratories for advanced research and innovation.

    Today’s chemical and biological emerging threats are evolving at unprecedented rates, displaying increased evasion and resistance capabilities. To ensure a robust technology pipeline capable of rising to the challenge of unanticipated threat agent maneuvers, DTRA-JSTO collaborates with DoD and DoE labs to innovatively counter these threats by executing agile, broad-spectrum research and development approaches.

    About 180 principle investigators and program managers came together virtually for innovative breakout sessions and presentations from DoD and DoE laboratories to address the current research requirement gaps identified by DTRA-JSTO. Laboratory representatives briefed their proposed ideas with DTRA-JSTO Science and Technology Managers (STMs) to bridge knowledge gaps and ensure communication channels remain transparent and mission focused.

    The PROMISE Workshop aimed to revamp the scope and strategy of chemical and biological defense research and development to:

    • Proactively address the evolving nature of chemical and biological threats

    • Better prepare for surprise

    • Meet CBDP mission requirements

    The overarching goal was to build a broader rapid-response capability that includes improved competency regarding identification and diagnosis of chemical and biological threats as well as development of suitable MCM. The workshop also gave the various labs the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of research needs and present relevant, innovative research to counter chemical and biological threats.

    This collaboration between DTRA-JSTO STMs and laboratory subject matter experts enabled an efficient and effective exchange of plans and state-of-the-art ideas, such as:
    • Development of an artificial intelligence model of the innate immune system

    • An artificial intelligence/machine learning-driven framework to rapidly predict strain-specific affinity reagents to advance the capability to detect, diagnose, and identify biological threats to the warfighter

    The complexity of the DTRA-JSTO mission portfolio requires multifaceted applications of capabilities, including diverse expertise in:
    • Detection and diagnostic technology development

    • Digital information management and analysis

    • Vaccine and therapeutic discovery

    • Advanced and emerging threat identification

    • Behavior characterization

    The combination of all these areas of expertise within the CBDP portfolio equips warfighters with an integrated, layered defense to mitigate or negate the effects of chemical and biological hazards at the speed of relevancy to optimize warfighter lethality.

    The PROMISE Workshop successfully facilitated proactive engagement between DTRA-JSTO and the DoD and DoE laboratories on innovative ideas that addressed DTRA-JSTO’s needs on diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics, and advanced and emerging threat identification.

    POC: Baochuan Lin,



    Date Taken: 07.29.2021
    Date Posted: 07.29.2021 23:38
    Story ID: 402088
    Location: FT. BELVOIR, VA, US

    Web Views: 519
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