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University of Iowa News Release

March 6, 2003

UI Researcher To Discuss Detection Of Bioterrorism Agents

Many potential agents of bioterrorism, such as anthrax, are odorless, tasteless and invisible to the naked eye, making them extremely difficult to detect. How then, did investigators of the 2001 anthrax outbreak determine the extent of the contamination?

That question and others will be answered from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, March 13 when Wayne Sanderson, Ph.D., associate professor of occupational and environmental health in the University of Iowa College of Public Health, delivers the lecture, "Detecting Agents of Bioterrorism: An Overview of Environmental Sampling Techniques." The free presentation, to be held in Room 20 of the Nursing Building on the University of Iowa campus, also will be broadcast live over the Iowa Communications Network (ICN) and via streaming video on the Web.

In 2001, Sanderson led the investigation of anthrax (Bacillus anthracis) contamination in a large postal distribution facility in Washington, D.C. In his presentation he will describe the environmental sampling techniques used to evaluate the extent of anthrax spore contamination. He will also discuss current research aimed at improving the accuracy of sampling and analytical techniques for detecting B. anthracis spores and other potential agents of bioterrorism.

The program is part of the spring 2003 Grand Rounds series sponsored by the Iowa Center for Public Health Preparedness (ICPHP). Advanced registration is requested and may be completed online at Links to the live web broadcast, as well as archives of past presentations, are available on the center's site.

Sanderson earned a Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of North Carolina and an M.S. in industrial hygiene from Central Missouri State University. He served as a research epidemiologist-industrial hygienist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for 24 years before joining the faculty of the University of Iowa College of Public Health in August 2002.

The presentation is sponsored by the Iowa Center for Public Health Preparedness, based in the UI College of Public Health, and the Iowa Association of Local Public Health Agencies. The ICPHP is funded by a grant from the CDC through a cooperative agreement with the Association of Schools of Public Health.

For more information about the Grand Rounds series, contact Jörg Westermann, Ph.D., director of continuing education, Center for Public Health Practice, at (319) 384-4294 or

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa College of Public Health Office of Communications, 4257 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242.

CONTACT(S): Media: Debra Venzke, 319-335-9647,

PHOTOS/GRAPHICS: A photo of Wayne Sanderson is available for downloading at: