Schar School of Policy and Government

Gregory Koblentz, PhD

Associate Professor

PhD, Political Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Key Interests
Biodefense | Biosecurity | Global Health Security | Dual-Use Research | CBRN Terrorism | WMD Nonproliferation | Homeland Security

Research Focus

My research focuses on understanding the causes and consequences of the proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons to states and non-state actors and how to reduce the risks posed by these weapons. In the field of biosecurity, my research focuses on assessing the impact of the proliferation of biological weapons on international security, examining how to strengthen the nonproliferation regime, exploring how to prevent the misuse of biology, and evaluating the impact of emerging dual-use biotechnologies, such as synthetic biology and genome editing, on the biosecurity landscape. My work in the field of chemical weapons is focused on understanding the motivations of states to acquire and use chemical weapons to address domestic security concerns and how the international community can hold governments accountable for using these weapons against their own people. In the realm of nuclear security, I have analyzed the proliferation of nuclear weapons and explored the geopolitical trends and technological developments that pose new challenges to strategic stability.

Current Projects

■ Designing a new international architecture to prevent global catastrophic biological risks that could result from a naturally occurring pandemic, a deliberately created and released biological weapon, or the accidental release of a pathogen engineered in a laboratory with enhanced transmissibility and lethality

■ Assessing the risk that emerging biotechnologies could be misused by authoritarian regimes as weapons of mass repression

■ Understanding the strategic logic behind Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war and how to deter such attacks

■ Explaining the motivations of states to share nuclear weapons technology with other states

Select Publications

J. Kirkpatrick et al., Editing biosecurity: needs and strategies for governance of genome editing (Arlington, VA: George Mason University, 2018).

G. D. Koblentz, The de novo synthesis of horsepox virus: implications for biosecurity and recommendations for preventing the reemergence of smallpox. Health Security 15(5), 1-9 (2017).

G. D. Koblentz, A critical analysis of the scientific and commercial rationales for the de novo synthesis of horsepox virus. mSphere 3(2), 1-10 (2018).

G. D. Koblentz, Dual-use research as a wicked problem. Frontiers in Public Health 2, 1-4 (2014).


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