Kathleen Vogel first became interested in biological weapons during her graduate work in the sciences at Princeton University, where she developed a side interest in science policy issues. After receiving her PhD in biological chemistry, she transitioned from a scientific career to one in science policy. For the next five years, Vogel conducted security policy research at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies within the Monterey Institute of International Studies, the Peace Studies Program at Cornell University, the Cooperative Monitoring Center at Sandia National Laboratories, the Institute for Public Policy at the University of New Mexico, and the Office of Proliferation Threat Reduction in U.S. Department of State.
Although these policy-oriented positions were fruitful learning experiences, Vogel was not satisfied with the existing tools and policy frameworks for understanding bioweapons threats and how to design appropriate policy responses. Her own bioweapons-related research indicated a much more complex set of factors that seemed to shape proliferation threats compared to existing policy discourse. This dissatisfaction has led to the search for and discovery of alternative theoretical tools that reshape the discourse centered around biological weapons, with the hopes of creating a new and generative intellectual conversation between academia and policy.
Vogel has a BA in Chemistry, Biology and Spanish from Drury College, and holds an MA and PhD in Chemistry from Princeton University.