Updates

A Faster, Less Costly Test Detects Foodborne Toxin

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists have developed a new test that's faster, more sensitive and less expensive than current tests in detecting a major foodborne toxin. The bacterium, Staphylococcus aureus, which makes a variety of toxins, is one of the most common causes of food poisoning.

Fentanyl Can Sicken First Responders. Here’s a Possible Solution.

Scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology are working to address the first responder hazard of handling unknown powders. They report that two technologies, Ion Mobility Spectrometry and Direct Analysis in Real Time Mass Spectrometry, can detect trace amounts of fentanyl even when mixed with heroin and other substances. This research suggests new ways to protect law enforcement officers, evidence examiners, and drug-sniffing dogs.

Pluristem Announces Promising Results From Non-Human Primate Pilot Study of PLX-R18 in Acute Radiation Syndrome

Pluristem Therapeutics Inc. announced the results of its non-human primates pilot study for PLX-R18 as a treatment for Acute Radiation Syndrome. The study was designed to assess the safety and efficacy of PLX-R18. Efficacy measures included survival as well as level of bone marrow function, which is affected by exposure to high levels of radiation as may occur in a nuclear accident or attack.

New Report Shares Best Practices, Guidance and Case Studies for Using Social Media in Public Safety Exercises

A new report by the Social Media for Emergency Services and Disaster Management Advisory Committee, which was established by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, addresses social media in all aspects of an agency’s emergency preparedness, response and recovery operations, including in the agency’s exercises.

DHS Delivers Study on Government Mobile Device Security to Congress

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has submitted a report to Congress that details current and emerging threats to the federal government’s use of mobile devices and recommends security improvements within the mobile device ecosystem. The DHS Science and Technology Directorate led the study in coordination with the National Institute of Standards and Technology and its National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence.

Lab Joins Efforts to Upgrade the Nation's Grid

In November 2014 the Department of Energy established the Grid Modernization Initiative. The initiative aims to deliver fundamental knowledge, new concepts, tools and data to support the nation's journey to modernizing the electric power system infrastructure. Enhanced grid security, grid flexibility via energy storage and improved economic competitiveness are key outcomes of this initiative.

Dissect Cyber Alerts Small Businesses Targeted by Cybercriminals

To reduce losses from cybercrime, the DHS Science and Technology Directorate Cyber Security Division funded a new research initiative focused on the best way to alert small businesses to potential threats. The project, Dissect Cyber, is being led by a threat analyst training and alert provider of the same name.

Preparing the Nation for Intense Space Weather

Although major geomagnetic storms are rare, with only a few recorded per century, there is significant potential for large-scale impacts when they do occur. Extreme space weather can be viewed as hazards for the economy and national security. The United States Geological Survey monitors the Earth’s magnetic field at 14 ground-based observatories positioned across the United States and its territories.

Using 3-D Weapons of Science to Fight Infectious Diseases

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center researchers collaborated with international scientists to understand pathogens responsible for some of the world’s most deadly infectious diseases. The Center for Structural Genomics of Infectious Diseases has determined the 3-D atomic structures of more than 1,000 proteins, which is an important step in identifying and understanding where a pathogen might be vulnerable to assault by drugs or vaccines.

Eye Tracking Technology Enhances Imposter Detection Training

The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate collaborated with Customs and Border Protection and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center to develop tools that can help optimize imposter detection training. The most recent capability to transition is called “Eye-dentify,” which is an imposter detection training technology.