Marshall University holds annual seminar on bioterrorism and national security

West Virginia's Marshall University recently began hosting its 26th annual Yeager Symposium on terrorism and threats to U.S. national security.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Laurie Garrett will join the symposium on November 5 to give a lecture entitled "Bioterrorism: The Modern Peril."

Garrett is a fellow for global health with the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of several books on the subject of bioterrorism and national security. She was one of three scientific consultants on the Warner Bros. film "Contagion," about the effects of a global pandemic.

Yeager Scholars and the symposium's co-chairs, Shaina Taylor and Rikki Miller, said that Garrett was their immediate choice to speak on the subject of bioterrorism.

"Her body of work is outstanding from any point of view," Taylor said. "Rikki and I worked tirelessly to bring her to Marshall, and we were overjoyed when we received her confirmation. What makes Garrett so special, though, is not only her lengthy list of accomplishments but her ability to present dense scientific material in a way that is both accessible and easy to understand."

Taylor said she hoped to find a speaker capable of having a broad, interdisciplinary appeal.

"Finding a way to fuse politics and biology was not always necessarily easy or evident to us in the early stages of the planning process, but we eventually settled upon the umbrella concept of terrorism in the 21st Century, which allowed us to feature speakers on domestic and lone-wolf terrorism as well as bio-terror," Taylor said. "We felt that this topic not only had broad appeal, but that it also spoke to many fears and anxieties relevant to the American people today."