URI doctoral student wins Security Innovation Competition
JONATHAN CANINO (right) who captured first place in a national competition for his talk titled "Safe Training Aids for Bomb-Sniffing Dogs," poses with the winning check beside University of Rhode Island chemistry professor Jimmie Oxley (center) and Even Bernier (left), a former graduate student of Oxley's.
COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND/MICHAEL SALERNO
SOUTH KINGSTOWN – Jonathan Canino, a Cranston resident pursuing his doctorate in chemistry at the University of Rhode Island, won first place in the eighth annual National Security Innovation Competition, sponsored by the National Homeland Defense Foundation to motivate students to pursue careers in security, science, technology, engineering and math.
Canino’s presentation on “Safe Training Aids for Bomb-Sniffing Dogs” drew on more than a decade of research by URI chemistry professor Jimmie Oxley, co-director of the Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence in Explosives, to develop safe portable aids to train bomb-sniffing dogs.
Oxley and her team have worked with the New York transit police to develop training aids to help dogs detect peroxide-based explosives. Because they are hazardous and dangerous to transport, it is impossible to train dogs with bulk quantities, but Oxley’s team has developed training aids with traces of the explosives that pose no explosion hazard.
Canino, who also earned his bachelor’s degree at URI, has been working on the project for about seven years.
“We were surprised and pleased,” Oxley said. “A number of students have worked on this project over the last decade, in particular, former URI doctoral student Evan Bernier. Jon has perfected the third generation of these training aids. I am hoping the next student will see it to the marketplace. We’re almost there.”
Competing with students from schools including the Florida Institute of Technology, Indiana University and the U.S. Air Force Academy, Canino captured the first-place prize and earned URI a $10,000 check from the defense foundation. Other finalists were Colorado Technical University, Saint Louis University, University of Wyoming and two additional U.S. Air Force Academy teams.
According to the National Homeland Defense Foundation’s news release about the contest, this year’s competition saw the broadest range yet of technological innovations ever presented, all relevant to the homeland security and defense sectors.
“The National Homeland Defense Foundation feels confident in the future of our homeland security and defense infrastructure after seeing the types of technologies presented,” said Lt. Gen. Ed Anderson, president of the National Homeland Defense Foundation. “These students are the future workforce and are already developing amazing innovations.”