Army chemist protects against emerging biothreats

Rod Fry, a chemist with the U.S. Army, is aiding the Research, Development and Engineering Command's Edgewood Chemical Biological Center in developing effective chemical weapons detectors.

Fry initially joined the military after high school before going to college and earning a doctorate in physical chemistry. He started working for a defense contractor supporting the ECBC before taking a position with the center's Engineering Test Division.

"When I heard about this job opportunity at ECBC, the thought of working with chemical warfare agents to help the warfighter sounded like a very exciting opportunity," Fry said. "I previously was enlisted in the Army, so it was an opportunity to work again with an organization that I knew a lot about."

Fry works with the Army's Multi-Mission Multi-Threat Detection program to improve the effectiveness of chemical detectors against terrorist and other threats.

"The program provides an opportunity for a large number of companies that develop chemical agent detectors to improve their technical knowledge base, and update and improve their technologies toward enduring and emerging threats," Fry said. "The focus is developing the next-generation chemical detector that the warfighter can use to detect the full range of chemical threats."

Fry and other researchers collect the data from detectors developed by different companies and then improve their algorithms in an effort to strengthen the ability of the detectors to detect and identify emerging and enduring threats.