Promoting Diversity and Inclusivity in Biocontainment

Date: September 26th, 2023 from 1:00-2:15pm ET
Presenters: Sarah Ziegler, Ph.D. (Sitero), Heather Carson J.D., Ph.D., (Sitero), Sabena Blakeney, Ph.D., Paul Meechan, Ph.D., and Antony Schwartz, Ph.D.

Join us on September 26th, from 1:00-2:15pm ET for an engaging webinar titled “Promoting Diversity and Inclusivity in Biocontainment,” where we will explore the biosafety and legal hurdles of making accommodations to improve diversity in the field of biocontainment.

Biorisk management is a rapidly evolving field that requires collaboration, innovation, and a wide range of perspectives to tackle complex challenges effectively. This webinar aims to provide ideas on how to overcome challenges that diversity and inclusivity present such as the use of service animals, pregnancy, or hearing/vision impairment, when developing biocontainment practices and policies.

During this webinar, our panel of biosafety experts will share their experiences, insights, and ideas for encouraging diversity and inclusivity in the context of biocontainment. Our panel will be joined by a legal expert to share her knowledge and insights in this area as well.

At the end of this webinar, attendees should have a better understanding of:

  • Specific challenges faced for inclusivity in the biocontainment field
  • Ideas for how to create a more inclusive biosafety program
  • Current legal perspectives for inclusivity in biorisk management

Register now to secure your spot! We look forward to seeing you there.

About the presenters

Sarah Ziegler, Ph.D., RBP, CBSP (ABSA)
Vice President of IRB, IBC and Biosafety

Sarah Ziegler, Ph.D., is responsible for leading the Biosafety and IBC services at Sitero. Dr. Ziegler is an ABSA certified biosafety professional and is passionate about ensuring the safety of workers and the community during biomedical research. She has previously served as an IBC chair, Biosafety Officer and Responsible Official for multiple research institutions. She has also consulted on projects as an SME for Select Agents, Biorisk Management, facility design and Laboratory Operations. Dr. Ziegler was previously the Deputy Director of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) with the USDA where she supervised laboratory operations and Biorisk management. Dr. Ziegler received her Ph.D. from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Biomedical Science and was a Post-doctoral Fellow in the National Biosafety and Biocontainment Training Program (NBBTP).

Sabena Blakeney, Ph.D., RBP, CBSP (ABSA)
Biosafety Advisory Board Member

Sabena Blakeney, Ph.D., serves as a subject matter expert on biological safety as a Sitero consultant. Her experience includes developing biosafety and select agent programs and associated documents, executing laboratory audits, incident investigations, training activities, and assisting with IBC approvals on human gene transfer studies at clinical trial sites. She has also performed biosafety reviews of laboratory drawings and advised on workflows and biorisk concerns. Additionally, Dr. Blakeney has over 10 years of laboratory research experience, including four years at Plum Island Animal Disease Center on research involving foreign animal disease control and eradication measures. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship with the National Biosafety and Biocontainment Training Program and is a Certified Biological Safety Professional (CBSP) and Registered Biosafety Professional (RBP) through ABSA International.

Paul Meechan, Ph.D., RBP, CBSP (ABSA)
Biosafety Advisory Board Member

Paul Meechan. Ph.D., 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.

Antony Schwartz, Ph.D., CBSP (ABSA)
Biosafety Advisory Board Member

Antony Schwartz, Ph.D., is an ABSA International Certified Biological Safety Professional and a microbiologist with extensive experience in biological risk assessment, clinical biosafety, and laboratory biosecurity solutions. Dr. Schwartz has held roles as the Institutional Biosafety Officer and Select Agent Program Responsible Official with the U.S. 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 currently serving as a Councilor.

Heather Carson, Ph.D., J.D., FCLM 
In-House Counsel

Heather Carson, Ph.D., J.D., is responsible for legal and regulatory affairs at Sitero. The majority of Dr. Carson’s professional career has been spent in clinical research, in various roles ranging from research administration to outside general counsel. Dr. Carson is a Fellow of the American College of Legal Medicine (FCLM) and is passionate about the integration of technology and scientific expertise to improve access to safe and effective medical care. Dr. Carson obtained her J.D. from Texas Tech University and her Ph.D. from the University of Texas Medical Branch. Dr. Carson was named a Fellow at the Center for Biodefense, Law, and Public Policy at Texas Tech University, and completed her graduate internship with the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. Dr. Carson’s research and publications include changes to Select Agent Regulations, evidence levels for vaccine recommendations, and challenges associated with data quality in clinical research. Dr. Carson’s regulatory affairs experience encompasses international and domestic submissions for adult and pediatric studies from preclinical studies through post-marketing, including emergency use and expanded access protocols.