Kosal Serves As Expert on US Working Group for Big Data and Analytics

Primary tabs

Nunn School Assistant Professor Dr. Margaret E. Kosal was selected to serve as an expert on the US Government’s first formal working group assessing the current state of big data and analytics, the benefits and risks of big data in the life sciences to national security, and needed solutions for addressing exploitation of system vulnerabilities or intentional use for harmful or criminal purposes.

As culmination of this year-long effort co-sponsored by the FBI Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate (WMDD) Biological Countermeasures Unit (BCU), the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Center for Science, Technology, and Security Policy (CSTSP), Kosal spoke recently in Washington, D.C. at a public eventmarking the official release of the Working Group report, National and Transnational Security Implications of Big Data in the Life Sciences.

Big Data analytics is a rapidly growing field that promises to change, perhaps dramatically, the delivery of services in sectors as diverse as consumer products and healthcare. Big Data analytics also have the potential to enable deeper insight into complex scientific problems by leveraging ever-increasing stores of knowledge coupled with ever-improving processing capabilities. These beneficial aspects of Big Data have been well-documented and widely touted. However, less attention has been paid to the possible risks associated with these technologies beyond issues related to privacy. These risks include, but are not limited to, vulnerabilities of datasets to cyber intrusion and design of biological agents intended for harmful or criminal purposes derived from the integration and analysis of Big Data in the Life Sciences.

Working at the intersection of science and security, Dr. Margaret Kosal is among the foremost experts on the weapons of mass destruction and the national security implications of emerging and dual-use technologies; such as nanotechnology, biotechnology, and the cognitive neurosciences. She earned a doctoral degree in Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and has served previously in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), and as an advisor to the Chief of Staff of the US Army as part of his Strategic Studies Group (SSG). Her book Nanotechnology for Chemical and Biological Defense (Springer Academic Publishers, 2009) explores scenarios and strategies regarding the benefits and potential proliferation threats of nanotechnology and other emerging sciences for national security.


  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Matt Josey
  • Created: 12/15/2014
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 10/07/2016

Target Audience