Auburn University signs $24 million contract for canine research

Published: Mar. 14, 2022 at 10:04 PM EDT
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AUBURN, Ala. (WTVM) - Auburn University leaders recently signed one of the largest research contracts in the school’s history.

The University was selected by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to help develop methods for combatting terrorism.

This contract is worth $24 million.

The funding will help advance Auburn’s research of how dogs can be best utilized to find explosives and criminals.

With the increasing number of national, state and even local security threats over the years, detection canines have demonstrated how important they are for public safety.

The Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, Dr. Frank Bartol says dogs and people have been partners for thousands of years, but dogs see the world differently than we do because their sense of smell is so highly evolved.

“The reasons for dogs as an instrument for detecting and sensing potential threat agents is because they have evolved over eons of that particular purpose and because they are partners and are companions, we have a natural ability to work together to common in. That is to detect things.” explains Bartol.

The Dean of Auburn College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Calvin Johnson says these dogs are bred and trained in Auburn at a young age on multiple categories.

“It ranges from not only canine detection but the ability to detect explosives, chemicals, biological agents, but also in our ability to maintain dogs in a healthy status and to be able to train dogs and to improve the genetics of the dogs that were creating.” says Johnson.

Vice President of Auburn University Research, Dr. Jim Weyhenmeyer says Auburn University has a uniqueness in being able to do this kind of research.

“We are in the public health space, we are in obviously the animal health space, and we are also in the environmental health space. We do have this confluence if you will of areas coming together in a way I think that makes Auburn a unique place to do this kind of analysis this kind of study.” adds Weyhenmeyer.

The overall goal of the five-year contract is to develop the best methods for finding, training and deploying detection dogs across the country.

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