ECBC Researcher Receives Top DoD Standardization Award

Terry D’Onofrio, Ph.D., received the 2015 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Defense Standardization Program Office for a contact-based permeation research methodology he invented.

CCDC Chemical Biological Center Public Affairs | April 21st, 2016

ECBC Researcher Receives Top DoD Standardization Award

Terry D’Onofrio, Ph.D., received the Defense Standardization Program Office’s 2015 Distinguished Achievement Award at a ceremony in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes. It was hosted by Ms. Kristen Baldwin, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Systems Engineering on March 16, 2016 with ECBC Director Joseph Corriveau in attendance.

Terry D’Onofrio, Ph.D., sits alone in a darkened airplane 30,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean returning to England. The only light in his section of the plane is the glow of his laptop’s screen as he reviews data.

He is returning to the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down, England where he is on loan from the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) for a year. Two days earlier he flew back to the U.S. to receive the 2015 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Defense Standardization Program Office at a ceremony held in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes on March 16. He received the award for a contact-based permeation research methodology he invented.

Named the Low-volatility Agent Permeation (LVAP) method, the invention closed a critical gap in chemical agent protection testing. It was patented last May, and has been adopted by U.S. Department of Defense as the official test and evaluation method for VX nerve agent permeation through protective equipment. It is a marked improvement over existing testing methods because it has shown increased accuracy for measuring the permeation of low-volatility contaminants such as VX.

This is D’Onofrio’s third patent. He holds one for a closed-loop waste disposal system he invented with fellow ECBC researchers George Noya and Enrique Faure, and another for a method of testing chemical agent contact permeation of a glove using a mannequin hand with his ECBC colleagues Richard Wallace and Brian Maciver.

Not one to rest on his laurels, D’Onofrio is returning to the United Kingdom’s premier defense research laboratory to continue work on other ongoing projects. “At the moment, I am working on three programs,” he said. “I’m conducting experiments to understand the interaction of hazardous chemicals with fabrics and surfaces, implementing the LVAP as an international standard, and conducting system-level research on a new robot mannequin that will help test the next generation of chemical and biological protective suits for the UK’s armed forces.”

D’Onofrio has avocational projects in England keeping him busier still. He is currently singing as a baritone in a British production of Verdi’s Requiem, and he landed a leading role in a British production of the musical, Salad Days, that a local theater group is reviving. No stranger to acting, he has appeared as a character in seven episodes of the Netflix series, House of Cards.

He is also an athlete. He competed in the 2013 and 2014 Tough Mudder, a 12-mile obstacle challenge. In 2015, he joined an ultra-marathon team with several other Aberdeen Proving Ground employees for a 120 mile, 24-hour team relay in the Appalachian Mountains, where they placed third in their division.

D’Onofrio is also someone his colleagues have a real fondness for as a person.

“Terry is a man of many talents and diverse interests. He is a talented researcher who has been recognized in his field on numerous occasions, “said Matt Shue, chief of ECBC’s Decontamination Sciences Branch and long-time research collaborator. “But his best quality is that he’s a great person; someone who’s a pleasure to work with and, most importantly, a friend.”

D’Onofrio’s long-time supervisor, Edward Jakubowski, Ph.D., deputy director of ECBC’s Research and Technology Directorate, agrees. “Terry is a wonderful person with an excellent sense of humor. I always enjoy talking to him whether it is in the lab about technical issues or at the Bel Air Farmer’s Market about the best vendor for produce.”

D’Onofrio’s next plane ride across the Atlantic will be in the fall of 2016, which will bring him back to Maryland and ECBC. Then he will rejoin his colleagues for technical discussions and pin down who is really the best vendor for produce at the Bel Air Farmers Market.

The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center (CCDC Chemical Biological Center) is the Army’s principal research and development center for chemical and biological defense technology, engineering and field operations. The Center has achieved major technological advances for the warfighter and for our national defense, with a long and distinguished history of providing the armed forces with quality systems and outstanding customer service. The CCDC Chemical Biological Center is located at the Edgewood Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.