Biosecurity and Microbial Forensics
PHA 6935 Biosecurity and Microbial Forensics


This is a 3-credit course.


This course is designed to provide an in-depth understanding of the risks associated with intentional and unintentional release of biological agents and the systems and practices used to investigate, contain or control these releases. Each module will introduce various aspects of biosecurity and microbial forensics, with a focus on the types of biological agents or situations that pose a potential security risk. This course will aim to equip students with the skills needed to evaluate potential biological threats and to respond effectively once a biological event has been identified.

This course is taught by Western Sydney University as part of a collaborative venture between the University of Florida and Western Sydney University, Australia.


Please review our recommended course order.


module topic
Module 1 Fundamentals and History of Biosecurity
Module 2 Biological Agents
Module 3 Epidemiology and Investigation of Disease Outbreaks
Module 4 Sample Collection and Handling
Module 5 Biological Agent Identification and Characterization
Module 6 Responses to Biological Threats and Legal Aspects of Biosecurity

At the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Understand the concepts of biosecurity and microbial forensics, and have an awareness of the current and historical biological threats
  • Describe the general characteristics of the major groups of biological agents, the threat these agents pose to biosecurity and how they may be used as biological weapons
  • Appreciate the role modern biotechnology could play in the potential development of designer pathogens
  • Understand the role of epidemiology and surveillance in biosecurity, and be able to identify signs of a suspicious outbreak
  • Understand the safety issues and regulations involved with handling biological hazards
  • Describe the different types of samples and methods of collection, decontamination procedures, storage and transport conditions and analytical tests that are used during disease outbreak investigations
  • Understand the health, environmental, economic, political, legal and social issues related to biosecurity

Recommended Materials

Microbial Forensics
Editors: Bruce Budowle, Steven Schutzer, Stephen Morse
Publisher: Academic Press; 3rd edition (November 2019)
Hardcover ISBN: 9780128153796
eBook ISBN: 9780128153802

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