• Research Agenda Prepares for the Future of Science and Technology

    DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) works to prepare DHS for  the future of science and technology. The requires remaining aware (and ahead) of emerging science and technology threats along with harnessing the latest advancements in science and technology as cutting-edge solutions for homeland security operational challenges.

  • China Extends Its Lead Over U.S. in Key Technologies

    Western democracies are losing the global technological competition, including the race for scientific and research breakthroughs, and the ability to retain global talent—crucial ingredients that underpin the development and control of the world’s most important technologies, including those that don’t yet exist.A new report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) finds that China’s global lead extends to 37 out of 44 technologies that ASPI is now tracking. These findings should be a wake-up call for democratic nations, who must rapidly pursue a strategic critical technology step-up.

  • Construction of New Level-4 Biolab in Manhattan, Kansas Completed

    The new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) in Manhattan, Kansas replaces the old Plum Island, New York biolab. The NBAF is the first U.S. laboratory with biosafety level-4 containment, capable of housing large livestock animals; and one of only a few facilities in the world with these capabilities.

  • Astronomers Seek Your Help in Hunting for Asteroids

    Anyone with an internet connection can become an asteroid hunter and join University of Arizona researchers as they work to discover asteroids hurtling through our solar system.

  • Why Scientists Have a Hard Time Getting Money to Study the Root Causes of Outbreaks

    Government and nonprofit groups that award grants to scientists favor research that’s high tech and treatment oriented rather than studies that seek to understand why contagions leap from animals to people in the first place.

  • We Could Easily Make Risky Virological Research Safer

    Lab Accidents happen, and they aren’t especially rare. A new book — appropriately titled Pandora’s Gamble — offers a shocking accounting of the problem, identifying more than a thousand accidents reported to federal regulators from 2008 to 2012. David Wallace-Wells, referring to the recommendations from the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity on how to minimize the risks from research biolabs, writes: “These suggestions would not eliminate the risk of lab accidents, but they would reduce the risk — and fairly simply.”

  • Outsmarting Superbugs, One Germ at a Time

    It’s an old story: Pathogen sickens humans. Humans create medicine. Pathogen evolves a way around the medicine. Humans are back to square one.

  • Most Existing Methods to Tackle Conspiracy Beliefs Are Ineffective

    New study finds that traditional fact-based counterarguments to conspiracy beliefs don’t work. Approaches to fostering critical thinking and an analytical mindset are more promising.

  • Vaccine Could Improve Herd Immunity Around the World

    A low-cost, protein-based COVID-19 vaccine tested in rhesus monkeys offered immunity against known variants for at least one year. Researchers hope the vaccine, which can remain unrefrigerated for up to two weeks and may be especially beneficial for infants, will help alleviate the need for boosters while improving herd immunity around the world.

  • Warning: Prospecting for Unknown Viruses Risks a Deadly Outbreak

    The coronavirus pandemic which swept the globe offered a scary case study in how a single virus of uncertain origin can spread exponentially. The pandemic has also challenged conventional thinking about biosafety and risks, casting a critical light on widely accepted practices such as prospecting for unknown viruses.

  • Fighting Biological Threats

    Modeling the emergence and spread of biological threats isn’t as routine as forecasting the weather, but scientists in two of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) national laboratories were awarded funding to try to make it so. The scientists will work together to advance computational tools and solutions for known and unknown diseases.

  • Why China Has Edge on AI, What Ancient Emperors Tell Us About Xi Jinping

    Dictatorships and authoritarian regimes tend to trail more democratic and inclusive nations in fostering cutting-edge, innovative technologies, such as robotics and clean energy. Artificial intelligence may prove an exception, at least in China.

  • COVID-19 Origins: New Evidence, and More Politics

    Last week, researchers released a report linking SARS-CoV-2 to six near-complete samples of raccoon-dog mitochondrial DNA sold at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan. The report says that “These results provide potential leads to identifying intermediate hosts of SARS-CoV-2 and potential sources of human infections in the market.”

  • A Major Clue to COVID’s Origins Is Just Out of Reach

    Last week, the ongoing debate about COVID-19’s origins had yet another plot twist added to it. A French evolutionary biologist stumbled across a trove of genetic sequences extracted from swabs collected from surfaces at a wet market in Wuhan, China, shortly after the pandemic began. Katherine J. Wu writes that the sequences bolster the case for the pandemic having purely natural roots. “But what might otherwise have been a straightforward story on new evidence has rapidly morphed into a mystery centered on the origins debate’s data gaps.” Wu says that public access to the sequences was locked, and, as a result, a key set of data which could have shored up the case for a purely animal origin became unavailable to scientists.

  • Will Machine Learning Help Us Find Extraterrestrial Life?

    When pondering the probability of discovering technologically advanced extraterrestrial life, the question that often arises is, “if they’re out there, why haven’t we found them yet?” And often, the response is that we have only searched a tiny portion of the galaxy. Researchers have applied a deep learning technique to a previously studied dataset of nearby stars and uncovered eight previously unidentified signals of interest.