Spotlight on uOttawa STEM research

Posted on Monday, September 17, 2018


As we celebrate Science Literacy Week, the University of Ottawa is proud to open its new, and cutting-edge STEM Complex this Thursday, September 20, 2018.

For this occasion, we wanted to share some of the interesting STEM- related research currently underway on our campus.

But what is STEM ? Though the acronym stands for science, technology, engineering and math, STEM has become synonymous with interdisciplinary collaboration, practical applications and project-based learning.



What if our phones could last an extra 5 years?

New technology developed at uOttawa by Professor Paul Corkum has created a way to image electric fields emitting from electronic devices. This will potentially change the way engineers design batteries and integrated circuits, making them more efficient and more sustainable. It is the first time that scientists are able to image these fields. They did so by measuring the influence of electric fields by its influence on the visible light, which means they can use a camera lens and see the image, just like a photograph.

How far back can we track Digital Humanities?

Digital humanities

The blossoming of digitally-enabled research on the human experience is transforming knowledge and understanding of the making of the modern world. The University of Ottawa has been at the forefront of such research, and is now a major partner in the latest pan-Canadian collaboration. The Canadian Peoples (TCP), funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation along with other partners, is constructing a research infrastructure composed of databases created from census enumerations from 1861 to 1921. These databases include evidence about the individual, household and community characteristics of everyone enumerated throughout Canada at ten-year intervals from before Confederation to after the First World War. By including the total resident population, this project led by Professor Chad Gaffield will enable unprecedented analyses of the deep complexity of demographic, economic and social change during these transformative years.


Medical instruments

Can AI help predict post-surgical risks?

The Mobile Emergency Triage Research Group under the leadership of Professor Wojtek Michalowski from the Telfer School of Management conducts research applying new AI methods to help patients and physicians make better decisions.
Using AI techniques, data mining, machine learning and reasoning techniques, this project will cover:

  • Predicting post-surgical complications for spine surgery patients; approaches to help physicians with patients’ risk assessments at the time of consult visits
  • Predicting chances of in-hospital death for potential intensive care patients
  • Developing clinical decision support systems to help design personalized therapies for the patients with multiple diseases
  • Developing patient-centred interventions to help with at-home adherence to anticoagulation therapy

Gaming for boomers


MouvMat is an interactive digital gaming surface that promotes physical activity, cognitive stimulation and social engagement for older adults. This is the first exergaming technology specifically designed by and for nursing home residents. MouvMat was co-created by Amélie Gauthier-Beaupré of the University of Ottawa, who worked with colleagues across Canada, older adults living in nursing homes, and their health care professionals to design a product that would suit their needs and interests. By providing older adults with a fun way to increase their physical activity, MouvMat can contribute to their overall well-being and socialization.

Is it possible to codify racism, sexism and trans-phobia?


Translating a three-dimensional, physical human body into a two dimensional code is too often depicted as painless. Biometrics — the process of transforming a unique bodily attribute, like facial recognition, typing rhythm and fingerprint — into a binary code for the purposes of identification is filled with inaccuracies. Despite more than two decades of using this technology to translate the material body into a representation of the body, it fails to identify racialized, gendered, queer, working-class, and disabled bodies, in other words, society’s most vulnerable. University of Ottawa Professor Shoshana Magnet is working on changing this.


Revolutionizing medicine through 3D Printing


The words “revolutionizing medicine” are no exaggeration. A 3D printer uses an “additive” process, successively laying thin layers of material on top of each other to create a three dimensional, solid object. The University of Ottawa and the Ottawa Hospital are the first in Canada to have an integrated medical 3D printing program for surgical planning, education and research. It will have general uses for cancer patients, fracture patients, orthopaedic and vascular patients, as well as for skull-based tumours.  It has also opened up new avenues for Dr. Frank Rybicki 's research.

3D printing also plays a pivotal role in pre-surgical planning. For example, a model based on the patient’s CT scan can be critical to surgeons planning a complex hip replacement surgery. Seeing the extent of the damage done by the disease can give a clear idea of how to operate. Without the model, doctors wouldn’t have this level of detail before surgery.

What is the effect of global warming on concrete structures?


The Department of Civil Engineering’s Beatriz Martin-Perez has spent the past two decades at the forefront of research into concrete deterioration. Her most recent project looks at the effects of global warming on concrete. Exposure to de-icing materials and seasonal temperature changes is causing significant damage to Canada’s concrete infrastructure. Martin-Perez’s numerical work aims at integrating material deterioration models with current methods of structural analysis to simulate the behaviour of structures under in-service conditions and help develop  assessment guidelines for existing deteriorated concrete structures, including bridge piers.


Blockchain, Blockchain … But what is a Blockchain?

Blockchain is one of the most significant technologies to affect society and law, bringing together new questions and opportunities at the intersection of technology, economics, business and law. It is a block of data or records that are linked using cryptography. Importantly, it is impossible to modify its data.

uOttawa’s Faculty of Law Florian Martin-Bariteau will be offering a new blockchain course and has opened a blockchain lab. The first of its kind in Canada, it will provide an overview of the technology behind Blockchain, and explore current and potential real-world applications.

How to promote intercultural dialogue in math class?

Math class student

How does migration affect students’ and teachers' experiences of school mathematics? We know that many students from migrant backgrounds face challenges in mathematics and tend to underachieve. Given the importance of math for accessing higher education and many forms of employment, underachievement can have a long-term impact.

In the Migration in Mathematics Classrooms project, led by Professor Richard Barwell, researchers from the Faculty of Education will study the impact of student migration – from outside or within Canada – on mathematics learning from the perspectives of students and teachers. Migrant students can find the culture of teaching and learning mathematics quite alien. They may bring novel ways of doing mathematics, and, in turn, encounter new ways of thinking about mathematics.

For more information or to request interviews on a specific research:

Isabelle Mailloux

Karyne Vienneau

Back to top