Chemical and Biological Warfare Defense

Chemical and Biological Warfare Defense

Although the Chemical Weapons Convention treaty prohibited the use and manufacture of chemical warfare agents, some countries and extremist groups maintain or can produce an unknown amount of these harmful weapons. This poses a great risk to people around the world.

Our lab develops of new and innovative measurement tools to detect when chemical or biological warfare agents have been used. Working with government entities such as the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical and Biological Center, and the Army Research Office, we have developed tools to detect these harmful molecules in water, in air, from surfaces, and in blood samples. Recent projects include the use of an untrained organism, the blow fly, as an environmental sensor of CWA release, which would allow for sampling of a remote or dangerous environment without risking human lives. In addition, our group has developed rapid and sensitive assays using paper spray mass spectrometry for the detection of CWAs in both biofluids and soil matrices.

Related publications

For more information, see the following publications:

  • Dowling SN, Skaggs CL, Owings CG, Moctar K, Picard CJ, and Manicke NE: Insects as Chemical Sensors: Detection of Chemical Warfare Agent Simulants and Hydrolysis Products in the Blow Fly Using LC-MS/MS. In Press (2022).
  • Wichert WRA, Dhummakupt ES, Zhang C, Mach PM, Bernhards RC, Glaros T, and Manicke NE*: Detection of Protein Toxin Simulants from Contaminated Surfaces by Paper Spray Mass Spectrometry. Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry. Focus Issue: Emerging Investigators. 30, 1406-1415 (2019).