Scientific Advisory Board
Keeping pace with scientific and technological change

The Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) is an OPCW subsidiary body that enables the Director-General to render specialised advice in science and technology to the Conference, Executive Council, or States Parties to the Convention.

The SAB reports to the Director-General, who submits its reports, alongside his own response, to the Executive Council. Every five years, the SAB prepares a larger report on developments in science and technology  for submission to Review Conferences of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The role of the SAB is to assess and report to the Director-General developments in scientific and technological fields that are relevant to the Convention. On request, the SAB provides advice on technical matters related to the implementation of the Convention, including on co-operation and assistance to the Technical Secretariat.

OPCW Scientific Advisory Board meeting

A Group of Independent Experts

The SAB is made up of 25 independent experts from OPCW Member States. The members serve in a personal capacity (not as representatives of their respective governments) for up to two consecutive three-year terms. The SAB chair and vice-chair are elected annually.

The SAB can also establish and coordinate temporary working groups to draw upon extended expertise for assessment and reporting on specific issues of relevance to the Convention.”

Members of the OPCW Scientific Advisory Board 2019

Members of the OPCW Scientific Advisory Board 2019


(as of January 2021)

  • Chairperson: Dr Christophe Curty
  • Vice-chairperson: Dr Andrea Leisewitz

Professor Isel Pascual Alonso (of Cuba) is the Titular Professor at the Faculty of Biology, University of Havana, Cuba. Her fields of expertise are on enzymes and their inhibitors with biomedical relevance. In particular her research projects are focused in the development of new natural inhibitors of aminopeptidases involved in human pathologies like cancer, diabetes, CNS disorders and parasitic diseases like malaria mainly from Cuban Biodiversity sources.

Dr Khaldoun Bachari (of Algeria) is the Director- General of the Algerian Public Scientific and Technical Research Centre in The Physico-Chemical-CRAPC, where he also serves as Research Director. Dr Bachari is a member of several national and international panels, inlcuding the Permanent Sectorial Committee (PSC) and Inter-Sectorial Committee (ISC)-Sciences Fundamentals-of Scientific Research and High Education Ministry (MESRS) of Algeria, and the labeling National Committee instituted by the Minister for Agriculture; he also chairs the Inter-Sectoral Commission for the Training, Programming and Evaluation of Scientific and Technical Research at the Thematic Research Agency for Nature and Life Sciences of Algeria. Dr Bachari holds 3 Patents and is co-author on more than 100 peer-reviewed international scientific publications and book chapters. Dr Bachari’s research is currently focused on analytical development, organic and inorganic chemistry and the environment. His work has received several national and international awards, including the “Algerian Early Career Researcher Award in Chemistry” in 2012.

Dr Renate Becker-Arnold (of Germany) is currently head of Global Trade Controls in BASF, Germany, and provides governance and expertise to BASF entities globally on Trade Controls regulations. She is a BASF authorized representative to German authorities for the Chemical Weapons Convention, and the Narcotics and Drug Precursors Convention. Her area of expertise is in chemistry, chemical and trade control regulatory frameworks and chemical industry processes.  She holds membership in export control groups in the German and European Chemicals associations and in the inter-ministerial CWC working group in the German Department of Foreign Affairs.

Captain Elma Lilia Biscotti (of Argentina) is the Chief of International Agreements at the Scientific and Technical Research Institute for Defense, and an expert advisor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and of the Ministry of Defense on chemical and biological weapons issues. She holds a degree in biochemistry and in pharmacy, and also is a specialist in evaluation of the environmental contamination and its toxicological risk. Captain Biscotti is member of the Argentine National Authority for the Chemical Weapons Convention and member of the National Commission for the Control of Sensitive Exports and Military Materiel. Her areas of expertise are implementation of the CWC, chemical and biological weapons non-proliferation measures, and convergence of chemical and biological sciences.

Dr Anne Bossée (of France) is in charge of the synthesis, toxicology and analytical chemistry branch in DGA CBRN Defense, the French military center for CBRN concern. She also manages the French OPCW designated laboratory. She holds an analytical chemistry PhD degree from the University of Pierre and Marie Curie in Paris, France. Her areas of expertise include toxin analysis, sampling, detection and identification of CWA and related compounds in environmental and biomedical matrices. She is a former member of SAB temporary working groups on sampling and analysis and Proficiency Tests Scheme. She is co-author of the editing group for Verifin “Recommended Operating Procedures for analysis in the verification of chemical disarmament”.

Dr Christophe Curty (of Switzerland) is in charge of the Organic Chemistry, Detection, Decontamination branch at Spiez Laboratory, the Swiss Federal Institute for NBC-Protection. He is a member of the Swiss National Authority for the Chemical Weapons Convention and the NBC Emergency Response Team. He manages the Swiss Schedule 1 facility. His special areas of expertise are chemical warfare agent synthesis, hand-held detection systems, decontamination methods, threat assessments and incident response.

Professor Vladimir Dimitrov (of Bulgaria) is currently head of scientific group at the Institute of Organic Chemistry at the Centre of Phytochemistry (Bulgarian Academy of Sciences). His area of expertise includes organic and organometallic chemistry in particularly for the development of selective methods for synthesis of biologically relevant compounds and compounds with application in materials science. His research involves isolation and characterisation of natural products from medicinal plants and thee use of these compounds (and those of similar structure) for drug development; nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and mass spectrometry are indispensable tools in his scientific activities.

Professor Mostafa Ghanei, MD (of the Islamic Republic of Iran) currently serves as full professor at Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences and as Director-General of the Biotechnology Development Council under the Vice-Presidency of Science and Technology. Born in 1962 at Isfahan, Islamic Republic of Iran, Professor Ghanei graduated as a general practitioner in 1988 from Isfahan University of medical Sciences, became a specialist in pulmonology from Tehran University of Medical Sciences in 1997 and was appointed Vice Chancellor in Research at Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences in 1999. His studies focused on victims of chemical injury and he has authored a number of books on the pathophysiology of mustard lung. Professor Ghanei developed the first protocols for diagnosis of chemical injuries and treatment of chronic respiratory complications. According to his specialty, he was invited as a referee to The Hague International Court to clarify chemical war crimes during the Iran-Iraq War. Professor Ghanei became Deputy of Research and Technology of the Ministry of Health at 2009 and General Director of Pasteur institute of Iran at 2011. He has authored more than 260 high impact publications (with an H-index of 32) and acquired the first positions of the 12th and 23rd Razi Medical Research National Festival. Professor Ghanei has been ranked in the top 1% of highly cited researchers.

Dr Norman Govan (of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) is Principal Advisor for Hazard Management at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl, Porton Down). He obtained his PhD in Chemistry from the University of St Andrews (Scotland) and is a Dstl Research Fellow. He has extensive expertise in conducting research at the interface of scientific disciplines (Chemistry, Biology, Engineering and Mathematics) to develop novel CBR Hazard Mitigation approaches. During the recent nerve-agent incident in Salisbury, he was the lead scientist responsible for planning and executing Recovery operations.

Mr Wilford Z. Jwalshik (of Nigeria) is the Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Chartered Chemists of Nigeria; an agency of government saddled with the responsibility of regulating the teaching, learning and standards best practice of the Chemistry profession in Nigeria. His major focus is the repositioning and projecting the Chemistry profession to promote the role of a chemist in addressing global challenges. His specialty is in industrial and analytical chemistry. His passion and interest for the Chemistry profession propelled him to serve as Council Member of the Chemical Society of Nigeria (2013 – 2017) and Member, Governing Council of the Institute of Chartered Chemists of Nigeria in 2017. He has also served as the pioneer Head, Research and Head, Catchment Monitoring Units of the Federal Capital Territory Water Corporation Abuja, Nigeria. He is currently a Member of Nigerian Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Chemical Weapons Convention and Member of the National Tertiary Health Institutions Standards Committee (NTHISC) of Nigeria.

Dr Viktor Kholstov (of the Russian Federation) is the Head of the Center for Analytical Studies on Conventions on the Prohibition of Chemical and Biological Weapons at the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, Federal State Unitary Enterprise, “GosNIIOKhT”. He holds a doctorate in chemistry and is an author on more than 250 scientific papers and patents.

Dr Zrinka Kovarik (of Croatia) is Research Adviser at the Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health, Zagreb. Her professional fields are biochemistry and toxicology with a focus on enzymes reacting with organophosphates, and antidotes for pesticide and chemical nerve agent poisoning.

Dr Andrea Leisewitz (of Chile) is currently the Director of Applied Research and Innovation, Universidad Santo Tomás, and a Professor at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC) School of Medicine. Her expertise is in cellular and molecular biology, good practices in research including research ethics, bioethics, biosafety and biosecurity. Dr Leisewitz holds a doctorate in cellular and molecular biology (PUC), postdoctoral training in pharmacology (UNC, NC, USA), a Masters in Innovation (PUC) and a Masters in Bioethics (Clarkson University-Mount Sinaí School of Medicine, NY, USA). From May 2013 to September 2019, Dr Leisewitz directed the Research Ethics, Bioethics, Biosafety, Biosecurity Office at PUC. She has been a member of the PUC’s IACUC (2008-2013) and chair of the same committee (2011-2013), a Chair of the Institutional Biosafety/ Biosecurity Committee, PUC (2014-2016) and Chair of the Advisory Board Member of the PUC Animal Care and Use Program. 

Dr Imee Su Martinez (of the Philippines) is a faculty member of the Institute of Chemistry, University of the Philippines-Diliman (UPD), under the Physical Chemistry Division. She repatriated to the Philippines in 2012 as a recipient of the Philippine Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Balik Scientist (Returning Scientist) Program, and the University of the Philippines-System Balik PhD (Returning PhD) Program. At present, Dr Martinez is also serving UPD as the Director for the Office of International Linkages (OIL Diliman). Her research interest is on surface chemistry, particularly in the characterization and imaging of interfaces and interfacial phenomena. Her current research projects are focused on ionic liquids for carbon-capture applications, sensor development for food safety, phospholipid interfacial formation, nanotechnology safety, and instrumentation development for probing surfaces.

Dr Robert Mikulak (of the United States of America) is currently an expert advisor on chemical and biological weapons issues at the United States Department of State.  From November 2010 until his retirement in July 2015, he was the United States Permanent Representative to the OPCW.  During the negotiation of the CWC, he was the deputy U.S. negotiator and senior U.S. technical expert.  His areas of expertise are the negotiating history and implementation of the CWC, chemical and biological weapons arms control and non-proliferation measures, and convergence of chemical and biological sciences.  He holds a doctorate in physical organic chemistry.

Dr Daan Noort (of the Netherlands) He currently works as principal scientist within the department of CBRN Protection of TNO (Rijswijk, The Netherlands), of which he is also the deputy manager. Dr Noort holds a combined organic chemistry/toxicology Ph.D. degree from the University of Leiden, The Netherlands. His areas of expertise include organic synthesis, analytical chemistry and exposure assessment. He is author/co-author of approximately 80 peer-reviewed publications and is active in various international scientific panels.

Professor Ponnadurai Ramasami (of Mauritius), FRSC CSci CChem, (of the Republic of Mauritius) leads the computational chemistry group at the Department of Chemistry of the University of Mauritius.  His areas of expertise are on the use of computational methods to solve chemistry and interdisciplinary problems.

Mr Günter Povoden (of Austria) is currently the expert on Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) safety and security issues for North Africa, Sahel and the Middle East in the framework of the European Union CBRN Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence (EU CBRN CoE) Initiative. Mr. Povoden holds a master degree in chemical engineering. His background is military as the Head of section chemistry at the CBRN Defence Centre of the Austrian Armed Forces. His areas of expertise are CBRN EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), threat assessment and incident response focusing on CBRN terrorism. Mr Povoden provides lectures for raising awareness regarding chemical warfare agents and the Chemical Weapons Convention at the University of Technology in Graz, Austria, and supports trainings, projects, exercises and missions in the framework of the EU, NATO and at national level.

Professor Syeda Sultana Razia (of Bangladesh) is a faculty member of the Department of Chemical Engineering, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET). Her areas of interest include diffusive mass transfer and separation processes; process safety; chemical management and security; and zero discharge ETP. Professor Razia serves as an expert for the Government of Bangladesh in policymaking, investigation and selection committees for technological and safety issues of chemical industry, which includes assessing safety and environmental aspects related to chemical industry in Bangladesh. She also leads collaborations between BUET and the Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Centre of the Texas A&M University. Professor Razia serves as a resource person to the Bangladesh National Authority of Chemical Weapon Convention, and is a member of Global Advisory Team of Poland based International Center of Chemical Safety and Security (ICCSS).

Professor Ahmed E. M. Saeed (of Sudan) is a member of the department of Chemistry, College of Science, Sudan University of Science and Technology; where he leads research groups in computational chemistry and MCRs. He is also the vice-editor of J. Science and Technology in Natural and Medical Sciences.  His areas of expertise include organic synthesis, organic spectroscopy, QSAR with molecular modeling and analytical method validation of pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Fengxia Sun (of China) is a professor in College of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Engineering, Hebei University of Science and Technology. Her expertise and research interests are involved in chemical engineering, pharmaceutical engineering, and biochemical process. She has more than 20 years practical experience in chemical and pharmaceutical engineering, developing control strategies for manufacturing process implementation and improvement, finding solutions for industrial chemical production, developing green synthesis process for chemicals from laboratory to industrial scales and designing in efficient and safe manufacturing processes. Dr Sun has served as chief scientist, chief technology officer and technical expert in many well-known Chinese pharmaceutical enterprises. She is also a technical adviser to the Chinese National Authority for the Chemical Weapons Convention and has assisted several OPCW Article VI inspections at declared chemical industry facilities in China since 2007.

Dr Yasuo Seto (of Japan) is the Vice President of the National Research Institute of Police Science belonging to the National Police Agency. His areas of expertise include forensic toxicology mainly related to analysis and metabolism of volatile toxic substances (chemical warfare agents, cyanide); on-site countermeasure technology such as field detection of chemical warfare agents and toxins; and decontamination of hazardous materials. Dr Seto took part in the forensic investigations of the Matsumoto and Tokyo subway sarin incidents.

Dr Maciej Sliwakowski (of Poland) is Head of the Analytical Department at the Institute of Industrial Organic Chemistry, Warsaw, Poland. Dr Sliwakowski was a Coordinator of the gas chromatography retention index (GC-RI) Group in the Validation Group for updating the OPCW Analytical Database and co-author and member of the editing group for VERIFIN “Blue-Book”. He is a former member of United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and a former OPCW Senior Analytical Chemist, where he was responsible for coordinating OPCW Proficiency Testing. Dr Sliwakowski has served as technical expert to Polish Delegation at the OPCW, and is a member of the Polish National Escort Team for OPCW Inspections. His areas of expertise are chemical warfare agents (CWA) and Chemical Weapons Convention related chemicals, specifically in areas of: synthesis, sampling and identification, detection systems and laboratory analysis employing spectral techniques.

Dr Nomandla Magnificent Vela (of South Africa) is Chief Scientist at Protechnik Laboratories, where she is responsible for providing technical support to the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to ensure maintenance and further development of a defensive capability against chemical and biological weapons. Dr Vela also provides technical support to the South African National Authority responsible for the implementation of, and compliance to obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention.  Dr Vela holds a BSc, BSc-Hons (Chemistry) and MSc degree (Organic chemistry), from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, and a PhD degree in organic chemistry from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Ms Farhat Waqar (of Pakistan) is Chief Scientist, Head of the Central Analytical Facility Division, and Convener for Chemical Weapons Convention Activities at the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission.  She is a multidisciplinary analytical chemist with vast experience in advanced analytical techniques and the chemical analysis of diverse materials.  Her work includes managing the provision of analytical services to large number of public and private sector, industry and research organizations, as well as university students.  She has been a member of the WIN Global (an International Organization for Women in Nuclear) since 2001 and was elected as General Secretary of the Pakistan Nuclear Society (PNS) in January 2016.

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