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Hacker lab at UOIT awarded funding

OSHAWA, Ont. – Information technology and health sciences researchers and students at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) will now have new and updated facilities to conduct their cutting-edge research projects, thanks to a $105,896 boost from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).
“UOIT is committed to pursuing research that is both relevant and necessary. Research funding support such as that provided by CFI is absolutely necessary so that we can tackle problems with global implications like improving the security of our IT infrastructure, as well as explore new ways to improve our understanding of what leads pain to become chronic,” said Dr. Michael Owen, associate provost, Research. “On behalf of the recipients and the UOIT community I would like to thank CFI for their ongoing support.”
Through support from CFI’s Leaders Opportunity Fund and Infrastructure Operating Fund, Dr. Khalil El-Khatib, Dr. Shahram Heydari, assistant professors, and Dr. Miguel Vargas Martin, an associate professor, Faculty of Business and Information Technology, will receive $42,110 to establish a new, leading-edge information technology security testing facility and Dr. Bernadette Murphy, a professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, will receive $63,786 for equipment that will aid her research in the understanding of how changes in brain processing lead to chronic neck and upper limb pain.
“The investments announced at UOIT will further enhance our country’s reputation as a destination of choice for outstanding researchers,” said Dr. Gilles G. Patry, president and chief financial officer, CFI. “They will make our universities even more competitive when it comes to attracting the best and brightest researchers from around the world.”
The security testing facility will be used to develop solutions to various IT security problems that have the potential to cause significant personal and economic harm to Canada and countries around the globe. Using this new facility, Dr. El-Khatib and his research team will study, design, implement and test new security tools and mechanisms to protect users and help combat cybercrime.

It will be installed in UOIT’s Hacker Research Lab, which is designed to help faculty and research students develop anti-hacking strategies and skills, and will complement existing tools and infrastructure with state-of-the-art technologies for vulnerability assessment; threat generation and management; and software security analysis.

Additionally, it will enable additional research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students and encourage intellectual property development while training highly qualified personnel to help satisfy the growing demand for IT security experts around the world.
Chronic neck and upper limb pain is a major debilitating health problem for Canadians, half of whom experience neck pain and more than a third arm pain in any given year. Dr. Murphy’s research has the potential to help identify individuals who have disordered sensorimotor integration, where the brain alters incoming sensory information and changes the output to muscles of the trunk and limbs, and develop and test rehabilitation protocols designed to address it.

Through the acquisition of new state-of-the-art equipment, her team will be able to increase the scope and number of experiments conducted. This research has the potential to greatly decrease the number of individuals living with chronic pain, identify the most effective treatments and reduce the costs to the Canadian health-care system.
“Today’s investments further demonstrates the Government of Canada’s commitment towards recognizing and cultivating innovative research projects that will position Canada as world leaders for decades to come,” stated Dr. Colin Carrie, Member of Parliament for Oshawa and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health. “Through several recent funding grants and infrastructure upgrades, our Government has recognized the importance of UOIT as an emerging global leader in research.”
In seven years, UOIT has gained a solid reputation as a research-intensive university; establishing its first spin-off company, filing more than 30 patents in various jurisdictions and receiving seven prestigious Canada Research Chairs and five Industrial Research Chairs. UOIT research is focused on five primary research themes, all of which emphasize a multidisciplinary approach: Applied Bioscience; Automotive, Materials and Manufacturing; Community and Social Wellness; Information and Communication; and Sustainable Energy. With these themes closely aligned with both federal and provincial research and innovation priorities in the context of Advantage Canada’s Federal Science and Technology Strategy and the Ontario Innovation Agenda, UOIT is well-positioned to positively impact the Canadian economy and our social well-being.

About UOIT
As an innovative university, UOIT delivers a leading-edge learning environment that uniquely combines academic knowledge, research opportunities, hands-on skills and a vibrant student life. UOIT’s more than 7,400 undergraduate and graduate students are taught by professors who are experts in their fields from around the world. As Ontario’s first laptop-based university, the university offers a diverse array of challenging undergraduate and graduate degree programs through its faculties of Business and Information Technology; Education; Energy Systems and Nuclear Science; Engineering and Applied Science; Health Sciences; Science; and Social Science and Humanities. UOIT’s commitment to research excellence has resulted in millions of dollars in grants and awards, including seven Canada Research Chairs. To find out more, visit

About CFI
The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is an independent corporation created by the Government of Canada to fund research infrastructure. The CFI’s mandate is to strengthen the capacity of Canadian universities, colleges, research hospitals, and non-profit research institutions to carry out world-class research and technology development that benefits Canadians. Since its creation in 1997, the CFI has committed $5.3 billion in support of almost 6,700 projects at 130 institutions in 65 municipalities across Canada.

Posted January 27, 2011