AUBURN – An Auburn University scientist is among a small group of international experts who are taking infrared imaging technologies and turning them into a fast, easy and effective method to control the spread of flu, SARS and other viruses.
David Pascoe, a College of Education professor who has researched thermal physiology for 20 years, today presented to university trustees a camera-like device that takes a snapshot of a person’s skin temperature. The image reveals if that individual has a fever and can be used by public safety officials in pandemic screening, such as determining if an airline passenger will pose a health risk to other travelers. In a demonstration to the Auburn Board, Pascoe showed skin temperature maps of a healthy individual and one carrying a virus.
“Dr. Pascoe and his research partners have made a major step forward in protecting public health,” said Sarah Newton, president pro tempore of the Auburn Board of Trustees.
Pascoe and a team of thermal imaging scientists from around the world have recently developed guidelines to pinpoint the infrared technology so it can be used to discover health problems by interpreting skin temperatures, primarily in the forehead and facial areas.
Also during the Friday meeting, the Auburn Board approved plans to move forward on two major research facilities. A new magnetic resonance imaging research center is expected to lead to next-generation technologies for non-invasive health scanning and will provide advanced clinical MRI screenings to the public. The Board voted to complete design plans for the building and seek construction bids.
University trustees also initiated plans for a science, technology and commerce research facility that will house scientists working in ecosystems, aquaculture, genomics, food safety, bioenergy, and water and environmental quality. Auburn received $14.4 million in federal funds in July for the building. Trustees voted to begin the search for an architect and construction manager.
“Modern facilities speed the innovation and discovery important to our state and nation,” said Auburn president Jay Gogue.
Members of the Board participated Thursday in the dedication of the Miller Writing Center, named for John C.H. “Jack” Miller Jr. Miller, a trustee from Mobile who passed away in July, championed efforts to improve students’ written communication skills.