Dr. Heather Edgar Develops UNM Database of Deceased People, a National First

Departmental News

Posted:  Jul 06, 2018 - 12:00am

Dr. Heather Edgar, Associate Professor and Forensic Anthropologist at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center Office of the Medical Investigator (OMI), is currently converting a dataset of whole body decedent CT scans into a searchable database that will be available to researchers.  This database project, funded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), will be stored on systems at the UNM Center for Advanced Research Computing and will completed by 2019.  Medico-legal researchers, anthropologists, and scientists in many other fields will have access to high resolution whole-body scans for uses such as detecting child abuse, survivability of trauma, and more accurate detection of forensic factors such as age and sex. Causes of death are numerous, and include natural deaths, diseases, child abuse, unhelmeted motorcycle crashes, gunshot wounds, and burns. The database will help researchers and criminal investigators to pin down factors such as age, weight, and sex of deceased persons in other cases or research they may be working on.  To read the full article, click here or to read the KRQE news story, click here