Biosafety Compliance - Press Release - Sitero Biosafety Advisory Board Experts

Sitero Launches Biosafety Advisory Board

Naming Renowned Experts to Provide Guidance on Biosafety Compliance

Miami, FL — January 10th, 2023 (— Sitero has launched a first-of-its-kind Biosafety Advisory Board and named several renowned biosafety experts as inaugural board members. The board will advise Sitero on its biosafety services, helping ensure that the company provides industry-leading support for biosafety compliance. The Sitero Biosafety Advisory board is the latest investment that Sitero is making in their Biosafety and IBC offerings due to their recent and expected continued growth in the space.

The board will also deliver best practices and strategic guidance for clinical and research sites to support biosafety and biorisk management. Board members will advance the industry by producing guidance documents on relevant Biosafety and IBC topics. The board will also contribute to Sitero’s continuing education and thought leadership efforts, including white papers, webinars, and podcasts that will be focused on Biosafety and IBC best practices and trends.

High-Profile Biosafety Leaders

The Biosafety Advisory Board is composed of high-profile biosafety leaders, including past presidents of ABSA International and a previous leader in biosafety for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute of Health (NIH).

The board members were convened by Dr. Sarah Ziegler, Sitero’s Vice President of Biosafety and IBC Services. Dr. Ziegler is an expert in the field of biosafety with years of experience at institutions across the country.

“Our board members wrote the book on biosafety and we couldn’t be prouder to welcome them to Sitero. Their efforts will be instrumental in delivering best practices in biosafety to inform our work at Sitero and advance the biosafety profession.”

– Dr. Ziegler, VP of Biosafety and IBC Services at Sitero.

Founding Members

Robert Ellis, Ph.D.

Dr. Robert Ellis is a Sitero biosafety consultant and a past president of ABSA. Dr. Ellis is a Certified Biosafety Professional (ABSA) and an Honorary Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists. Dr. Ellis was the Director of Biosafety at Colorado State University for more than 25 years and was the Responsible Official for the CSU Select Agent program from 2002-2020.

He has worked on multiple projects and in teaching/training roles for biosafety, including managing Biosafety and Biorisk programs for ABSL-3, ACL-3, BSL-3, ABSL-2, ACL-2, and BSL-2 laboratory facilities. Dr. Ellis has experience working with design teams on renovation and new building projects, advising on biosafety and laboratory operation issues. He has conducted facility audits ranging from individual laboratories for private and public entities to comprehensive biosecurity and biosafety audits of research and clinic academic operations and veterinary medical colleges. Recently he assisted with stand-up activities of the NBAF Biorisk and Select Agent Program.

Paul Meechan, Ph.D.

Dr. Paul Meechan is a Sitero biosafety consultant, providing guidance and training to academic and government institutions regarding safe containment practices. He has expertise in biosafety risk assessments, regulatory requirements, laboratory operations, design reviews of new facilities, and biosafety training management.

Before retiring from the CDC, he was the Associate Director for Laboratory Science in the Office of Laboratory Science and Safety. He also served as the CDC editor for the 6th edition of the NIH/CDC manual Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories. He previously worked as the Director of the CDC’s Environment, Safety, and Health Compliance Office and the Corporate Biosafety Officer at Merck and Co.

Dr. Meechan holds RBP and CBSP certifications from ABSA International and has served as President and Secretary of the ABSA Council. He has been a member of numerous federal task forces and committees.

Antony Schwartz, Ph.D.

Dr. Antony Schwartz is an ABSA International Certified Biological Safety Professional and a microbiologist with extensive experience in biological risk assessment, clinical biosafety, and laboratory biosecurity solutions. He was a post-doctoral fellow in the National Biosafety and Biocontainment Training Program (NBBTP) at the NIH.

Dr. Schwartz has held roles as the Institutional Biosafety Officer, Select Agent Program Responsible Official, and A/BSL2 and A/BSL3 specialist with the federal government and academic institutions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he developed biosafety policies and procedures for clinical trials and research laboratories working with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and patient samples, as well as recommendations for personnel protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare staff. He led a team that implemented a large-scale N95 decontamination and reuse process for a healthcare facility.

Dr. Schwartz is an active member of ABSA International and an adjunct assistant professor at the Duke University School of Medicine.

Sabena Blakeney, Ph.D., RBP

As a Sitero consultant, Dr. Blakeney serves as a subject matter expert on biological safety and supports the USDA National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) stand-up activities. Her experience spans developing biosafety and select agent programs and associated documents, executing laboratory audits, incident investigations, and training activities, and assisting with IBC approvals on human gene transfer studies at clinical trial sites. She has performed biosafety reviews of laboratory drawings, advising on workflows and biorisk concerns.

Dr. Blakeney has over 10 years of laboratory research experience, including four years as a visiting scientist at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center for research on foreign animal disease control and eradication measures. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship with the National Biosafety and Biocontainment Training Program. Dr. Blakeney is a Registered Biosafety Professional through ABSA International.

About Sitero

Sitero is a leader in clinical services and solutions for the life sciences industry. The company has over 100 customers with experience in a diverse range of therapeutic areas and specific expertise in providing innovative, technology-enabled solutions that allow its customers to focus on their core strengths. For early phase studies through Phase III clinical trials, Sitero’s seasoned team delivers high-touch services and technology to ensure the safety of all stakeholders across the clinical research community with an emphasis on ethics, compliance, and innovation