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New UNL lab to study safeguards for U.S. food supply
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New UNL lab to study safeguards for U.S. food supply

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A partnership between the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the National Strategic Research Institute will study how to improve the biosecurity of the U.S. food supply.

The NSRI Collaborative Biosecurity Laboratory, which will be located on UNL's East Campus, will study agricultural and natural resources security, development of biosurveillance, biodetection, diagnostic tools and pandemic preparedness.

Mike Boehm, NU vice president and the UNL vice chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said Nebraska's position as a leader in agricultural and military research made it a natural fit for the new laboratory.

"This is a natural and extremely promising partnership that will help safeguard and advance our critically important food supply," he said.

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The lab, which will be led by Josh Santarpia, an NSRI research director of chemical and biological programs, will set up shop in the Morrison Life Sciences Research Center, where it will be able to draw in faculty, staff and students throughout the university.

Santarpia said many of the novel technologies and approaches developed by NSRI could be repurposed to detect, prevent and treat animal and crop diseases.

The new NSRI project comes roughly six months after Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary David Robinson toured NU in December to hear a pitch for how university researchers could help protect America's food system.

NSRI is one of 14 university-affiliated research centers in the country that provide research and expertise to the U.S. Department of Defense.

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