Monterey Institute of International Studies

Raymond A. Zilinskas

Director, Chemical & Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program

What is it that you are most passionate about? 

Preventing the use by nations or terrorists of biological and chemical weapons and should this fail, have done what I can about local, state, federal, and international authorities being well prepared to meet the challenges posed by such events.

What do you enjoy most about teaching and/or what excites you about being a professor at MIIS?

Having highly motivated students who get deeply involved in what I am passionate about and who therefore tend to enter professions in which they can use their newly acquired knowledge and skills to realize biological and chemical arms control.

After graduating from California State University at Northridge with a BA in Biology (1962), and from University of Stockholm with a Filosofie Kandidat in Organic Chemistry (1963), Dr. Zilinskas worked as a clinical microbiologist for 16 years before commencing graduate studies at the University of Southern California. His doctoral dissertation addressed policy issues generated by recombinant DNA research, including the applicability of genetic engineering techniques to biological weapons development. After earning a Ph.D. in 1981, Dr. Zilinskas worked at the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment (1981 - 1982), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (1982 - 1986), and the Center for Public Issues in Biotechnology, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute. In addition, while at Maryland he was an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Department of International Health, School of Hygiene and Public Health, the Johns Hopkins University.

In 1993, Dr. Zilinskas was appointed a William Foster Fellow at the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA), where he worked on biological and toxin warfare issues. In April 1994, ACDA seconded Dr. Zilinskas to the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) for seven months, during which time he participated in two biological warfare-related inspections in Iraq (June and October 1994) encompassing 61 biological research and production facilities. At UNSCOM headquarters, he set up a database containing data about key dual-use biological equipment in Iraq and developed a protocol to guide UNSCOM's on-going monitoring and verification program in the biological field.

After the fellowship ended, Dr. Zilinskas returned to the Center for Public Issues in Biotechnology and Johns Hopkins University. In addition, he became a long-term consultant to ACDA (which now is part of the U.S Department of State), for which he carried out studies on Cuban allegations of U.S. biological attacks against its people, animals, and plants and investigations carried out by the United Nations of chemical warfare in Southeast Asia and the Arabian Gulf region. Dr. Zilinskas remains to this day a consultant to the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Defense.

On September 1, 1998, Dr. Zilinskas began working as a Senior Scientist in Residence at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies, Monterey, CA. His research focuses on achieving effective biological arms control, the proliferation potential of the former Soviet Union's biological warfare program, and meeting the threat of bioterrorism. He also is a Research Professor at the Graduate School of International Politics at MIIS, where he teaches courses on biological and chemical weapons and arms control and emerging issues in international public health.

Dr. Zilinskas' book Biological Warfare: Modern Offense and Defense, which provides a definitive account on how modern biotechnology has qualitatively changed developments related to biological weapons and defense, was published in 1999 by Lynne Rienner Publishers. He also is co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Bioterrorism Defense, which was published in summer 2005 by Wiley and Sons. Currently, he is writing a book on the former Soviet Union's biological warfare program, including its history, organization, intent, and accomplishments, which will be published by Harvard University Press in late 2008 or early 2009.

 Recent Accomplishments

  • Completing a book on which I have been working on for the past 11 years: Milton Leitenberg and Raymond A. Zilinskas, The Soviet Biological Weapons Program: A History, (Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 2012).
  • Written a film review for the first time: Raymond A. Zilinskas, “Contagion: A Movie Pandemic Versus the Reality of Public Health,” WMD Junction, September 23, 2011; http://cns.miis.edu/wmdjunction/110923_contagion.htm.
  • Collating 132 entries to create a unique reference source: Rebecca Katz and Raymond A. Zilinskas (eds.), Encyclopedia of Bioterrorism Defense, 2nd Edition, (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 2011).
  • Have an article published in Scientific American: Ken Coleman and Raymond A. Zilinskas, “Fake Botox, Real Threat,” Scientific American 302(6):84-89 (June 2010); http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=fake-botox-real-threat.
Expertise

Clinical microbiology, organic chemistry, international law and mores related to biological and chemical arms control, preparedness and response to biological and chemical emergencies

Education

Ph.D. from University of Southern California, BA in Biology from University of Stockholm

Recent Accomplishments

  • I am in process of editing (with co-editors Casey Mahoney and James Toppin) an edited monograph on the history of the anti-plague system in the U.S.S.R. and Russia titled Stories of the Soviet Anti-Plague System, which will be published before summer 2013.
  • Completed a book on which I have been working on for the past 11 years: Milton Leitenberg and Raymond A. Zilinskas, The Soviet Biological Weapons Program: A History, (Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 2012).
  • Written a film review for the first time: Raymond A. Zilinskas, “Contagion: A Movie Pandemic Versus the Reality of Public Health,” WMD Junction, September 23, 2011; http://cns.miis.edu/wmdjunction/110923_contagion.htm.
  • Collated 132 entries to create a unique reference source: Rebecca Katz and Raymond A. Zilinskas (eds.), Encyclopedia of Bioterrorism Defense, 2nd Edition, (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 2011).
  • Had an article published in Scientific American: Ken Coleman and Raymond A. Zilinskas, “Fake Botox, Real Threat,” Scientific American 302(6):84-89 (June 2010); http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=fake-botox-real-threat.
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