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Homeland Security Award Columbus Scholar 2007

The Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation and Agusta Westland North America are honored to have awarded the achievements of the 2007 $25,000 Homeland Security Award Columbus Scholar:

Donna H. Branson, Ph.D.Douglas L. McMakin

Staff Engineer
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Richland, Washington

Mr. Douglas L. McMakin is Staff Engineer in the Applied Physics Group at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, operated by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy, and has worked in the Radar Imaging Laboratory since 1987.

As Project Manager and Technical Lead at the Radar Imaging Laboratory, Mr. McMakin and his team developed and tested innovative real-time microwave and millimeter-wave holographic-imaging systems for airport personnel screening for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (now the TSA) and body-measurements for biometrics and clothing applications using various planar and cylindrical imaging techniques. Mr. McMakin was very active in the commercialization of these technologies with two licensed partners L-3/SafeView ( and Intellifit (

Mr. McMakin is being honored for the development of the first-of-its-kind personnel security system that safely detects non-metallic and metallic objects, including explosives that might be worn by a suicide bomber. The system uses a cylindrical holographic imaging technology to conduct a 360-degree whole-body scan in 1.5 seconds. It bounces low-powered, non-ionizing millimeter waves off a person, penetrating clothing and reflecting off the body. Reflected signals are collected by the array/transceiver and sent to a high-speed image processing computer, which forms a high-resolution three-dimensional image of the body and any hidden objects. The system provides a safe, fast and effective alternative to metal detectors, X-ray machines and pat-down searches at security checkpoints.

Mr. McMakin was born in Richland, Washington, and received a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Washington State University, Pullman, in 1986. He received a R&D 100 award in 2004 and a Federal Laboratory Consortium Technology Transfer award in 2005. Additionally, he won the R&D Magazine's Editors Choice award for "Promising New Technology for 2004." He has received seven patents from the U.S. Patent Office, and has several more patents pending. He has authored or co-authored more than 50 publications and has presented papers at numerous national and international conferences and symposiums. He presented to the National Research Council's Committee on Assessment of Security Technologies for Transportation and was acknowledged by the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security (Vice President Al Gore, Chairman) for providing technical advice and special support to the Commission. Mr. McMakin's research and development interests are in conceiving, developing and testing practical electronic instrumentation for real-world government and commercial applications using radio frequency, radar and terahertz technologies.


The Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation is honored to have had the assistance of the following distinguished individuals serving on the 2007 Homeland Security Award Evaluation Committee:
  • Dave Brody, Executive Producer and Director of Media for IMAGINOVA Corporation, New York, New York. Mr. Brody produces, writes and directs original video and multimedia for the IMAGINOVA brands as well as managing the acquisition and licensing of externally produced media. He has appeared as a science and technology expert on NBC's Today Show; CNBC's Morning Call; CNN's International News; BBC Worldwide News; and other television and radio broadcasts.

  • Stephen Cass, Senior Editor, DISCOVER Magazine, New York, New York. Mr. Cass studied experimental physics at Trinity College Dublin before relocating to New York City. He has worked for the Nature Publishing Group, IEEE Spectrum, and is currently a Senior Editor at DISCOVER Magazine. He has written about security, privacy, intelligence gathering and engineering design as well as aerospace and other science and technology topics. Mr. Cass is a member of the IEEE Aerospace and Electronics Systems Society and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

  • Tony Duthie, Vice President, AgustaWestland Inc.(AWI), Reston, Virginia. Mr. Duthie is responsible for technical support to the AWI sales and marketing team. He has played important roles in the VXX and CSAR-X sales campaigns, being involved in the development of capture strategy and subsequent execution including overseeing the design and production of the VXX and CSAR-X cabin mockups in 2004 and 2005. He led the AWI response to the Request for Information for the U.S. Navy Airborne Re-Supply/Logistics for Sea Basing (AR/LSB) Analysis of Alternatives in 2006.

  • Frances S. Ligler, D.Phil., D.Sc., U.S. Navy Senior Scientist for Biosensors and Biomaterials and a member of the Bioengineering Section of the National Academy of Engineering (elected 2005). Dr. Ligler has worked in the Center for Bio/Molecular Science and Engineering at the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C since 1985. Dr. Ligler was the recipient of the 2003 Homeland Security Award in the Biological, Radiological, Nuclear field.

  • Daniel V. Lim, Ph.D., Distinguished University Professor, Advanced Biosensors Laboratory, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida. Dr. Lim is a microbiologist whose research focuses on development of biosensor assays for rapid detection of bio-threat agents and microbial pathogens. He works closely with companies, Federal and State agencies, the military and other universities on development and implementation of these rapid detection procedures. Dr. Lim was the recipient of the 2004 Homeland Security Award in the Biological, Radiological, Nuclear field.

  • Jan Mares, Business Liaison Director, Private Sector Office, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C. Mr. Mares joined the Private Sector Office in May 2003. The function of the Private Sector Office is to promote, encourage and monitor collaborative relations between the private sector and the Department and other Federal agencies regarding homeland security issues.