Saturday, November 1, 2008

MIT Holding, Inc. Chief Science Advisor Assists the Republican and Democratic National Conventions

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dr. Thomas Kollars has been giving MIT advice on a variety of scientific projects, however recently Kollars, who is also the Director of the Biodefense and Infectious Disease Laboratory in Georgia Southern University’s Jiang-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, was asked by the Federal government to advise and educate them on bioterrorism for the national conventions. During training in Department of Homeland Security exercises this summer at Fort McCoy, WI, as a Lt. Colonel in the Army Reserve Consequences Management Unit, he was asked to create a bio-agent model threat map for both conventions.

By combining geographic information systems software (ArcView) and environmental modeling software (BioTEMS), the data identifies the areas where the biological agent would spread and the length of time it would last in the environment. Bio-agents are able to survive in soil or can infect the animal population for months or decades. Dr. Kollars stated, “The maps show where the bio-agent would survive in the environment for less than 15 days, less than 30 days, and less than 2 years.” According to Kollars, it takes an infective dose of about 8,000 Anthrax spores to be fatal. However, Tularemia needs only one to ten bacteria to be deadly, so the infective dose of each disease organism or strain is very broad.

“So instead of trying to clean up the entire Minneapolis or Denver area, which will take a whole lot of dollars and manpower, they can actually go to these specific sites and clean up,” Kollars said. The technology can be used locally here in Savannah, GA for consequence management and planning for important sites like Savannah-Hilton International Airport, the Port of Savannah, Hunter Army Airfield, Fort Stewart, and other federal and local government facilities. “What makes my bio-agent models unique is they can identify the environmental consequences from a few hours to several years,” Kollars states. The environmental models are another tool to combat bioterrorism along with population models the Center for Disease Control and Prevention use to project how the agents are spread from person to person contact.

Dr. Kollars is excited to know that he has contributed to combating the ever growing threat from bioterrorism and providing our leaders and citizens important information should a bio-agent attack occur. Kollars Biodefense work was recently featured on one of Savannah’s local news stations WSAV evening news.

If you are interested in Dr. Kollars work on bioterrorism and the bio-agent model maps you can reach him through Georgia Southern University ( or at MIT Holding, Inc ( or (

Excerpts taken from GSU website

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