Deborah Harden receives biodefense award from George Mason University

George Mason University's (GMU) Biodefense Program announced on Tuesday that it selected Deborah Harden as this year's Departmental Award Recipient of the Master's Program for her work and scholarly achievements.

Harden, a former U.S. Air Force aerospace engineer currently working at nonprofit Battelle, enrolled in GMU's Biodefense Program to gain an understanding of biodefense to help her acquire the resources she needed to fund projects for Battelle.

"When I began working at Battelle, I needed to understand biodefense so I could better articulate what our scientists were researching so I could find funding for them," Harden said.

For her master's project, Harden examined what happened to bioengagement programs after donor funds were no longer available. She studied the sustainability of programs to secure pathogen collections in states that became independent after the fall of the Soviet Union.

"Money from donor countries like the U.S. won't continue forever, so what happens to these biologists and programs after the donors leave?" Harden said. "I found some great literature about sustainment and found that we're mostly on the right track, but more can be done."

Harden completed her project and continues to evaluate bioengagement programs overseas. She said she may consider reapplying for a Ph. D. in biodefense.