Kelsey Lane Warmbrod; Kobi Leins; Nancy Connell

Published On


Page Range

pp. 173–200


  • English

Print Length

28 pages

8. Biosecurity, Biosafety, and Dual Use: Will Humanity Minimise Potential Harms in the Age of Biotechnology?

How have biosecurity and biosafety developed during the twenty-first century – the “Century of Biosecurity” – and how can oversight and governance of this field be improved? This chapter describes rapid advances in biology and how they can lead to misapplication, from the anthrax biohazard, to the availability of DNA studies on a large scale, to AI’s use of big data today.


Kelsey Lane Warmbrod


Kelsey Lane Warmbrod is a research analyst specialising in biological and chemical weapons nonproliferation at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, USA. Her work primarily focuses on improving national and global security by maximising the benefits of life science research while minimising risks to safety and security in an equitable manner. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Warmbrod was seconded to the World Health Organization to support their response to the pandemic. Warmbrod worked at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, where she led projects on biological attribution, the bioeconomy, and the governance of life science research. Prior to Hopkins, she worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the National Security Sciences Directorate, contributing to projects concerning the security of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear material. Lane is currently pursuing a PhD in public health genetics at the University of Washington.

Kobi Leins

Honorary Senior Fellow at King's College London

Dr Kobi Leins (GAICD) is an Honorary Senior Fellow of King’s College, London; Advisory Board Member of the Carnegie AI and Equality Initiative; Member of Standards Australia as a technical expert on the International Standards Organisation’s work on AI Standards; Affiliate, ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society; and former Non-Resident Fellow of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research. Leins provides strategic advice on selection, implementation, and operation of technologies to drive business edge; creates systems for organisational and delegation of ownership for complex systems and data; and uses international benchmarking to analyse opportunities and risks in face of rapidly changing legal and governance landscapes and data literacy and public sentiment. Leins has previously managed programs and teams in administrative law and justice, humanitarian law, human rights law, and disarmament with the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross and worked in two different university faculties of Engineering and Computer Science. Leins is the author of New War Technologies and International Law: The Legal Limits to Weaponising Nanomaterials, Cambridge University Press (2022). Further publications can be found at

Nancy Connell

Senior Scientist in the Board on Life Sciences at National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Nancy Connell is a Senior Scientist in the Board on Life Sciences at the US National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). Trained in microbial genetics at Harvard, Dr Connell’s work has focused on advances in life sciences and technology and their application to a number of developments in the areas of biosecurity, biosafety, biodefense and the responsible conduct of science. She has had a long-standing interest in the development of regulatory policies associated with biocontainment work and dual-use research of concern. Dr Connell is a past member of the Board on Life Sciences and currently serves on the Committee on International Security and Arms Control. She is a National Associate of NASEM, where she has served on more than 15 NASEM committees. Among other national and international committees, she served on the US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity. Dr Connell was Senior Scientist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and Professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health from 2018–2021. From 1992–2018, Dr Connell was an investigator in microbial genetics and drug discovery at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (NJMS), finishing her long career there as Professor in the Division of Infectious Disease and Director of Research in the Department of Medicine.