Anthrax expert speaks at Adelaide conference

Monday, 9 February 2009

A United States scientist who secretly helped the FBI investigate the deadly anthrax bioterrorism attacks in 2001 will be one of the key speakers at a University of Adelaide conference on microanalysis this week.

Paul Kotula from Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico helped analyse the concentrated Bacillus anthracis spores which killed five people when they were mailed in letters to several media offices and two US senators.

Dr Kotula and his team worked on the project in secret for seven years, demonstrating that the spores were not a weaponised form of bacteria which disperses more readily. This information, which was crucial in ruling out state-sponsored terrorism, was not made public until 2008.

This week he will discuss this investigation - and other forms of microanalysis - at the 10th Biennial Symposium of the Australian Microbeam Analysis Society being held at the University of Adelaide from 9-13 February.

Symposium Convenor Angus Netting says it is the first time that this two-yearly meeting has been hosted in Adelaide, which has attracted around 160 delegates, including five international speakers.

The symposium will look at new and advanced analytical techniques, practical solutions and applications for scanning electron microscopes, capable of analysing specimens at many million times magnifications.

Other invited speakers include:


Contact Details

Mr Angus Netting
Adelaide Microscopy
University of Adelaide
Business: + 61 8 8313 3143
Mobile: 0434 074 086

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762