Researchers Nab CFI Support

November 15, 2007 - News Release

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) awarded more than $378,000 to the University of Guelph today. The funding will support research ranging from creating wireless and mobile networks to understanding ecosystems to establishing disease surveillance and risk assessment programs to improve human health.

Canada-wide, CFI is investing $28 million to support 149 projects at 35 institutions, with the bulk of the funding coming from the Leaders Opportunity Fund. The program is designed to help universities recruit exceptional scholars and to retain leading researchers.

"This CFI investment will significantly enhance the University's recognized capacity for doing excellent research across a wide range of disciplines," said Alan Wildeman, Guelph's vice-president (research).

Prof. Nidal Nasser of the Department of Computing and Information Science received $114,687 to establish a unique wireless computing laboratory. There, researchers will address the performance, scalability and resilience of new and emerging technologies, as well as the feasibility and effectiveness of proposed solutions.

"I am so happy about receiving this funding," said Nasser, who specializes in developing novel algorithms, architectures, protocols and mathematical models for wireless and mobile networks. "It will enable me to conduct practical research and to create new innovations." Wireless sensor networks have numerous applications, including use in health care, energy management, public safety, disaster recovery and emergency response.

Environmental biology professor Marc Habash will use his $124,350 grant to develop a cutting-edge research lab to study microbial biofilms in water distribution systems. Municipal water systems are a significant source of microbial contamination, where communities of micro-organisms (known as biofilms) form on the surface of pipes.

"The equipment that will be obtained with this funding will enable research examining how bacteria adhere to surfaces and the impact they have in our drinking water distribution systems," said Habash. Currently there is little published information on microbial microfilms, and that lack of knowledge negatively affects scientists' ability to assess the risk to human health.

Providing a scientific basis for predicting and mitigating ecosystem responses to things such as climate change and invasive species is the goal of integrative biology professor Karl Cottenie's research. He will use his $63,099 grant to create a dynamic pond system that will be used as a model to advance understanding of the roles of spatial, temporal and environmental processes in determining community structure.

Ontario Veterinary College Prof. David Pearl received $75,963 to create a high- performance computer laboratory that will give epidemiological researchers the tools to perform advanced quantitative analyses. The lab will support research for the design of surveillance systems to protect animal and human health, and the identification of risk factors for disease at the individual, community or farmlevel that could be amenable to intervention.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Deirdre Healey, 519-824-4120, Ext. 56982.

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1