ABSA International Biosafety Honor Awards

The Council has asked the ABSA Awards Committee to seek nominations for the 2017 ABSA International Biosafety Honor Awards, to be presented at the 60th Annual Biological Safety Conference in Albuquerque, NM, October 13-18, 2017. All ABSA members are encouraged to submit nominations for the awards, to be received no later than June 2, 2017.

The three honor awards for which nominations are being sought are:

Arnold G. Wedum Distinguished Achievement Award

Online Nomination Form

Everett Hanel, Jr. Presidential Award

Online Nomination Form

John H. Richardson Special Recognition Award

Online Nomination Form

You are strongly encouraged to submit the completed nomination form either on-line through the ABSA website or by using the PDF form submitted directly to the ABSA International Office ([email protected] or fax 847-566-4580). Letters of recommendation are no longer required. You are encouraged to submit personal anecdotes or comments on why you feel the nominee is worthy of the award. Consider what you would want the ABSA President to say about your nominee should they be selected. Providing an individual's CV without supporting information does not assist the Awards Committee with their assessment of the nominations.

The ABSA Awards Committee will review nominations for the three Honor Awards and will recommend candidates to the Council for consideration. The Awards Committee may choose to make, if appropriate, more than one recommendation or no recommendation for an award. Presentation of awards will take place at the Honor Awards and Special Recognition Luncheon during the annual conference, and the recipients will be notified in sufficient time to allow them to attend the meeting.

2016 ABSA Biosafety Honor Award Recipients

Arnold G. Wedum

Arnold G. Wedum

Arnold G. Wedum is revered as the person most responsible for creating the biosafety profession. He was a caring and wonderful mentor for many of the early leaders of ABSA. His traits of determination and persistence served biosafety well. He was one of the first to publish papers on how infectious aerosols were created in the lab and how to control those aerosols. He was a brilliant man whose knowledge of biological safety was sought by the leaders of the United State's biological research community. The NIH Advisory Committee valued his council regarding safety practices appropriate to recombinant DNA research.

Dr. Wedum's intellect, his deliberate and careful style in assessing hazards, and his vast experience remain instructive to all of us today. He brought to light the fundamental concepts of our profession. His lifelong efforts promoted occupational health and safety in infectious disease research and gave our profession credibility and a valid scientific relevance.

In recognition of outstanding work that provided greater knowledge in the field of biosafety, the Arnold G. Wedum Distinguished Achievement Award was established in 1976.

The Arnold G. Wedum Distinguished Achievement Award is given to an active ABSA member, or emeritus, for outstanding contributions to biological safety accomplished through teaching, research, service, or leadership.

Past Award Recipients     

Arnold G. Wedum
Distinguished Achievement Award

Paul Meechan, PhD, RBP, CBSP, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

2016 Recipient: Paul Meechan, PhD, RBP, CBSP, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

In recognition of his outstanding contributions in teaching, research, service and leadership this year’s G. Wedum Distinguished Achievement Award recipient is Paul Meechan. Paul received an undergraduate degree in Biology and Chemistry from SUNY College, a Ph.D. in Radiation Biology from the University of Rochester, and a Master’s of Public Health and Safety Management from Tulane University. Paul holds RBP and CBSP certifications from ABSA International and a CHMM certificate. Paul is the Senior Advisor for Laboratory Safety in the Office of the Associate Director for Laboratory Science and Safety where he has the responsibility for providing expert safety advice to leadership on regulatory issues that face laboratories at the CDC and serves as a liaison between the Office of the Associate Director of Laboratory Science and Safety with other EHS offices within the CDC. Paul is a Past President of ABSA and also served two terms on the ABSA Council as Secretary. He has served as the Nominations Committee Chair and on many Federal task forces and committees. He served on the Mid-Atlantic Biological Safety Associations (MABSA) council as Secretary, Treasurer, President-Elect, President, and Past President. He is currently President Elect for South Eastern Biosafety Association (SEBSA) as well as the Biosafety Symposium Program Chair.

Paul provided lead effort on the CEN Workshop on Biosafety Professional Competencies and participated in the extended Biosafety Advisory Group meeting which led to the WHO Laboratory Bio Risk Management Strategies Framework for Action 2012-2016. He participated in the multiagency, multisector workshop that created the Guidelines for Biosafety Ad Hoc reviewer for the Guidelines for Biosafety in Teaching Laboratories. Paul was also Director/Head for WHO Collaborating Centre for Applied Biosafety Programs and Training. This collaboration provided scientific and technical biosafety/biosecurity consult; assisted WHO with the development of international policies, guidance, and recommendations associated with bio risk management and the transport of infectious substances; assisted and supported WHO in strengthening laboratory bio risk management; as well as assisted WHO in developing many training tools. Paul coauthored a chapter in the Biological Safety Principles & Practices and was a member of the Editorial Board of Applied Biosafety where he also published research his research on the Use of Ultraviolet Lights in Biological Safety Cabinets.

Paul has provided numerous talks on biosafety/biosecurity to many groups, organizations, and associations over the years. He was the Co-Chair of ABSA International’s Principles & Practices of Biosafety in 2011-2013 and also instructed at many of the courses. He was part of the Steering Committee for the 14th CDC International Symposium, an instructor at the Eagleson Institutes BSL3 Seminar Series Advanced BSL3 Practices and Procedures, and a highlighted speaker at the USDA Biosafety & Biocontainment Symposium in 2015.

Everett Hanel, Jr.

Everett Hanel, Jr.

Everett Hanel, Jr. was a member of Dr. Wedum's safety group at Fort Detrick from 1943-1972. Following his tenure there, he became the Director of the Health & Safety group at the National Cancer Institute in Frederick, MD. His efforts were central in the development and perpetuation of the Biological Safety Conference and the organization we know as ABSA. In 1983 Everett was chosen to be the first President of the American Biological Safety Association. In recognition of his significant contribution to this organization throughout his lifetime career in biosafety, the Everett Hanel, Jr. Presidential Award was established in 1993.

The Everett Hanel, Jr. Presidential Award is given to a current ABSA member for outstanding contributions to the American Biological Safety Association by promoting the field of biological safety and fostering, by example, the high professional standards of the Association's membership.

Past Award Recipients     

Everett Hanel, Jr.
Presidential Award

Brian Petuch, RBP, CBSP, Merck & Co. Inc

2016 Recipient: Brian Petuch, RBP, CBSP, Merck & Co. Inc

In recognition of his outstanding contributions, this year’s recipient is Brian Petuch. Brian serves as the corporate Biological Safety Officer for Merck. He is a Certified Biological Safety Professional as well as a Registered Biosafety Professional. Brian has presented and shared his research, his knowledge, and his experience for almost 3 decades at various meetings and symposiums to include the Society for Industrial Microbiology, American Chemical Society, American Society for Microbiology, American Industrial Hygiene Association, New Jersey American Industrial Hygiene Association, New Jersey American Society of Safety Engineers, New Jersey Emergency Preparedness Association, Annual Decon/WMD Symposium, CDC National Symposium on Biosafety, Mid-Atlantic Biological Safety Association, as well as ABSA International.

Brian currently serves as the Chief of the Burlington County HazMat Team, Burlington County Office of Emergency Management, in Burlington County, NJ. Burlington County is the largest county in the State of New Jersey and covers almost 900 square miles. In this capacity he provides on-scene risk assessment for team members during chemical, biological and radiological incidents; researches and implements rapid detection technology for chemical and biological threat assessment; and implements decontamination SOPs for toxins and microbial agents. Brian works with FBI and County Prosecutor to implement evidence collection capability for chemical, biological and radiological samples and is a member of County Counterterrorism Task Force, Bioterrorism Response Team.

Brian has a background as a research scientist, a fermentation microbiologist, and a vaccine technology engineer and has published his work on several occasions. Brian currently serves both ABSA International and the Mid-Atlantic Biological Safety Association in a number of capacities. He is very active on the BIOSFTY listserv and is always willing to provide assistance passing on whole documents, Standard Operating Procedures, relevant publications, and his experiences on to anyone who is in need. This willingness to share shows his dedication to the field of Biosafety.

The John H. Richardson
Special Recognition Award

John H. Richardson John H. Richardson
Robert J. Emery, DrPH, RBP, CBSP

2016 Recipient: Robert J. Emery, DrPH, RBP, CBSP

In recognition for a specific contribution that has enhanced the American Biological Safety Association and the profession of biosafety this year’s recipient is Robert Emery. In addition to his professional duties as Vice President for Safety, Health, Environment & Risk Management for the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and Professor of Occupational Health at the UT School of Public Health, Dr. Robert Emery has been actively involved in multiple teaching, research, and mentorship activities associated with the biosafety profession. Bob has been a long term, active member of ABSA International, is both an RBP and CBSP, and has contributed research articles to the ABSA International journal Applied Biosafety. Three years ago, Bob received a workforce training grant for the development of a novel biosafety technician certificate program in collaboration with Houston Community College. This program was unique in that it specifically targeted training for disabled veterans and minority populations. Bob also created a 3 day Biosafety Officer continuing education course which is hosted by the NIOSH sponsored Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health. Bob also regularly provides two very popular professional development courses on Biosafety Program Management as part of the annual ABSA International Conference. Because Bob is also board certified in six other areas beyond biosafety (health physics, safety, industrial hygiene, hazardous materials, security and risk management) he has provided numerous professional development courses that served to increase awareness of the biosafety professional amongst these groups. For example, Bob regularly provides a continuing education course for the Health Physics Society entitled “Introductions to Biosafety for Health Physicists” Most recently, Bob helped create a graduate-level academic course in Infection Control and Biosafety within the UT School of Public Health Biosafety that is designed to serve as the foundation for an envisioned academic track in support of these fields

Dr. Emery is also actively involved in many research activities and has a number of publications in the field of biosafety in peer-reviewed journals including Applied Biosafety, the Journal of Occupational Environmental Hygiene and the American Journal of Infection Control. Dr. Emery provides service and leadership to the biosafety profession in many ways. He was instrumental in laying the foundation for the creation of the Southern Biosafety Association, which is an ABSA International affiliate serving Texas and the surrounding states. He also serves as a mentor for many graduate students and practicing professionals and is constantly making young professionals aware of the importance of professional association membership. In addition to becoming certified himself, Bob has encouraged and supported 5 others to achieve board certification as CBSPs.

Past Award Recipients     

ABSA's Annual Recognition Awards

Richard C. Knudsen
Publication Award

2016 Recipients

Matthew Philpott, PhD, RBP, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
Charlie Fautin, RN, Benton County Health Department, Corvallis, OR
Karyn Bird, DVM, PhD, Kathy O’Reilly, PhD, College of Veterinary Medicine, Corvallis, OR

Title: A Laboratory-associated Outbreak of Cryptosporidiosis published in Applied Biosafety, Number 20, Volume 3

Richard C. Knudsen

Richard C. Knudsen did his post-doctoral studies through the National Institute of Health and the National Research Council. He became an immunologist at the Naval Medical Research facility in Bethesda, Md. In 1976, he studied swine flu virus for the USDA. Ten years later, he moved to the Plum Island Animal Disease Center and later became chief of laboratory safety at the Centers for Disease Control. Dr. Knudsen was a prolific writer and had articles published in the Journal of Bacteriology; Journal of Virological Methods; Journal of Experimental Medicine; Journal of General Virology; Journal of Immunology; Journal of Immunological Methods; and Applied Microbiology to name but a few. He assisted with the preparation of the Interim Biosafety Guidelines for Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome. He also finalized a plan that reflected the views of the U.S. Department of Transportation and CDC. This document proposed that U.S. diagnostic specimen shipments should be regulated and that diagnostic specimen shipments using air transportation should be required to meet the standards of IATA Packing Instruction 650.

The Richard C. Knudsen Publication Award shall be given, when merited, to the author(s) of an article that reports a significant contribution in scientific investigation and/or health and safety, whether the authors are members or not of the Association. The article shall have been published in Applied Biosafety the year preceding the award. The nomination for this award is made by a committee formed by two members of the Publications Committee as well as two members of the Awards Committee.

Past Award Recipients     

Arnold G. Wedum

Arnold G. Wedum Memorial
Lecture Award

2015 Recipient

Nancy Connell, PhD, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ

Title of Lecture: Developing a Culture of Awareness; Biological Arms Control, Dual Use Research, and Responsible Conduct of Science

The award shall be given to an outstanding scientist or biological safety professional whose work has contributed to a better understanding of the occupational or environmental risks associated with infectious agents or biologically-derived materials, or whose contribution has led to the development of improved control methods in minimizing those risks.

The recipient is not required to be a member of ABSA. Candidates for the award will be chosen by the Scientific Program Committee and recommended to the Council for approval.

Past Award Recipients     

John M. Eagleson, Jr.

Lecture Series Award

2016 Recipient

Nikolaos Vasilakis, PhD, University of Texas Medical Branch—Galveston, Galveston, TX

Title of Lecture: Zika Virus—A Reemerged Arbovirus

The Eagleson Lecture is in memory of John M. Eagleson, Jr. The keynote speaker for the Biological Safety Conference shall be the speaker that is sponsored by the Eagleson Institute. The Eagleson Lecture Series Award recipient is selected in recognition of accomplishments that contribute to the awareness of biological hazards. The topic of the lecture shall be consistent with the mission of the Eagleson Institute, which is to promote the principles and practices of laboratory safety. The subject of the lecture shall be timely with an emphasis on emerging issues rather than the presentation of historical information. The Scientific Program Committee (SPC) shall recommend nominees to the Eagleson Institute for selection.

Past Award Recipients     

Elizabeth R. Griffin

E. R. Griffin Foundation
Lecture Award

2016 Recipient

Jaime Yassif, PhD, Open Philanthropy Project, San Francisco, CA

Title of Lecture: The Open Philanthropy Project-Biosecurity and Pandemic Preparedness Initiative

The Elizabeth R. Griffin Research Foundation, Inc. (the Foundation), a non-profit organization, is designed to promote safe research practices and help fund further research in the areas of zoonotic diseases. The Elizabeth R. Griffin Research Foundation, Inc. was formed in loving memory of Beth Griffin, whose vibrant, young life was prematurely ended after contracting the rare macaque-born B virus (previously known as Herpes B Virus).

The E. R. Griffin Lecture Series Award recipient is selected in recognition of accomplishments that contribute to the awareness of biological and occupational safety. The topic of the lecture shall be consistent with the mission of the Foundation, which is to promote the safe research practices and help fund further research in the areas of zoonotic diseases.

Past Award Recipients     

Robert I. Gross

Robert I. Gross Student Award

2016 Recipient

Vincent Manna, BS, Rowan University, Stratford, NJ

Inactivation of Bacterial Pathogens Using a UVC Emitting Device for Whole Room Sanitization

The Robert I. Gross Memorial Fund was established in 1991 with the receipt of a gift from Marsha Gross in memory of Robert I. Gross. This is awarded to a student in recognition of academic achievement in biological safety. The award provides a grant to a student to register, attend, and present a technical paper or poster at the annual conference. The student must be in a degree granting program at the baccalaureate or graduate level in an academic discipline or field that is relevant to biosafety. Membership in ABSA is not required.

The Scientific Program Committee selects the grant recipient from among the student applicants who submit abstracts.

Past Award Recipients     

The Hashimoto Recognition Award (the HASH)

Robert Hashimoto, MS, RBP CBSP, SM (NRCM)
Robert Hashimoto, MS, RBP CBSP, SM (NRCM)
2016 HASH Award winners

2016 Recipients:

Shelly Jones, RBP
Rhonda O’Keefe, CBSP
Susan Cook, CBSP
Jeff Owens, MPH, CBSP
Yolanda Stringer, MS, RBP, CBSP
J. Paul Jennette, RBP, CBSP
Rebecca Caruso, MPH, RBP, CBSP
David Gillum, RBP

The intent of this award is to recognize and thank individuals for their ABSA committee service.

The award was created in honor of Robert Hashimoto, MS, RBP CBSP, SM (NRCM). Bob had a long history of service and leadership within the American Biological Safety Association as well as during his 26 year career as a Biosafety Officer. He was a mentor to countless biosafety professionals and a friend to even more.


2015 Recipients - Alexis Brubaker, CBSP; Cynthia Schwartz, PhD, RBP; Deb Sharpe, MPH, RBP; John Tonkiss, CBSP; Kim Heard, CBSP; Barb Owen, RBP, CBSP; Kalpana Renajaran, PhD, MPH, RBP; Susan Weekly, RBP; Noman Siddiqi, RBP; Jacqueline Wagner; Deborah Newby, PhD, CBSP

Poster Awards

2016 Recipients


Amna Shireen, Dow University of Health sciences, Karachi, Pakistan



Heba Hassan, Agricultural Research Center- Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture, Cairo, Egypt


The award shall be given to an outstanding presentation in a poster format meeting all the criteria for Abstract, Introduction, Analysis, Results and Conclusions that convey a topic of research or other study in the area of Biosafety

Past Award Recipients

Calendar Members Only