Archive by category | Biosecurity

NSMB on US visa procedures for scientists

The US State Department promises to accelerate the visa process for foreign graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, a promise welcomed by Nature Structural & Molecular Biology in its July Editorial (16, 677; 2009). The Editorial decries the occasions when researchers have been severely delayed in trying to obtain or renew visas, leaving some stranded and others unable to travel to the United States for work or to attend scientific meetings.  Read more

Synthetic biology centre focuses on ethics and public engagement

The Centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation is the first publicly funded UK centre dedicated to synthetic biology – the science of designing and building biological components that can perform useful functions, such as producing drugs or biofuels, according to an online Nature news story (published 12 May; doi:10.1038/news.2009.464).  Read more

Who’s worrying about nanotechnology risks?

The Editorial in the December issue of Nature Nanotechnology , A little knowledge (Nature Nanotechnology 2, 731; 2007) acknowledges that communicating the risks and benefits associated with nanotechnology to the general public is more complex than researchers might have expected. According to surveys, one of which is published in the same issue of the journal, the public is not interested in the possible risks of the technology (despite Michael Crichton’s best efforts).  Read more

Russian scientists in Soviet-style security service investigation

A young Russian biologist taking samples to a collaborative institute in France has been accused of attempting to smuggle bioweapons by Russia’s federal security service, the FSB. He has been interrogated repeatedly by FSB agents and prevented from leaving the country. His job also now looks uncertain.  Read more