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Georgetown Introduces Online Certificate To Address Global Health Threats


Courses cover bioterrorism, infectious diseases, and future homeland security challenges

July 19, 2006, Washington, D.C. – The Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Georgetown University recently launched the new Online Certificate in Biohazardous Threat Agents and Emerging Infectious Diseases. The 12-credit graduate program, which focuses on the science behind the agents and diseases in question, is currently open for enrollment for the Fall 2006 semester. The department also offers a Master of Science in the field. All programs are fully transferable into other, on-site master’s programs.

“At the opening of the 21st century, we are faced with the dual threats of bioterrorism and global warming,” said Dr. Michael Cole, a department faculty advisor who was integral to the launch of the new program. “Biological terrorism threatens malicious dispersal of hazardous viruses, bacteria and their toxins, while climate change has enormous effects on infectious diseases, particularly those transmitted by insects. This new certificate program is specifically designed to address these global threats by providing an understanding of the nature and biology of the threat agents as well as the processes of their detection and prevention.”

The certificate program consists of four core online courses, taught by experts in the field, which can be taken as part of a full-time or part-time course of study. If pursued on a full-time basis, the certificate program is a one-year commitment. Courses include:

* Microbiology of Biological Threat Agents and Emerging Infection Diseases, which covers the normal immune response both innate and acquired to infectious diseases
* Bioterrorism, which examines the use of biological weapons including anthrax, plague and botulism
* Biosurveillance I: An Applied, Multidisciplinary Perspective, which examines the implications for biosurveillance of political and organizational controversies about defending against terrorism including bioterrorism
* Homeland Security 2015, which examines threats to the United States, how they might evolve over the next ten years, and the consequent implications for science, technology and homeland security

These courses join existing offerings and seminars in related disciplines, including virology, immunology and pathogens.

“This exciting new certificate program is fully accredited by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and all credits are transferable into a resident Master of Science program,” said Dr. Leonard Rosenthal, program director and professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. “The certificate program is therefore valuable as a standalone credential in itself, but can also serve as a stepping stone to a Master of Science degree.”

Twenty students are expected to participate in the inaugural year of the program. For more information on the Online Certificate in Biohazardous Threat Agents and Emerging Infectious Diseases including application information, contact Program Coordinator Eugenia Pyntikova at or visit:


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