Faculty News

UAB faculty receives two NSF grants for cybersecurity research
UAB faculty receives two NSF grants for cybersecurity research
A UAB Computer and Information Sciences professor will continue improving security and usability of authentication systems through new funding.

Nitesh Saxena fNitesh Saxena, Ph.D., has been awarded two grants in 2015 from the National Science Foundation to continue his research in computer and network security.

The grants total $1 million overall, with UAB’s share comprising approximately $500,000.

The first of the two grants, a collaboration with Syracuse University, will help Saxena develop a secure and easy-to-use mechanism for user authentication in current-generation smartphones. Because they are in near constant use, mobile phones can be much more difficult to secure than traditional devices such as desktops or laptops. Saxena’s research will look into a way to constantly protect the smartphone. The project seeks to leverage several collaborating wearable devices, for example a smartwatch or smartglass, and their different sensors to build a strong behavioral biometric authentication mechanism that can recognize the legitimate user of the smartphone transparently and continuously.

The second grant, a collaboration with the University of California, Irvine, will assist Saxena’s team in furthering his research into improving the security and usability of two-factor password authentication systems. Saxena aims to design and implement two-factor authentication systems that improve upon previous, weaker systems by ensuring they protect against online attacks, as well as phishing attacks and offline attacks. Importantly, in doing this, Saxena’s design will not minimize the usability component of the authentication system and thus remain amenable to real-world deployment. This project has been supported by UAB Information Technology.

Saxena, the director of the Security and Privacy In Emerging computing and networking Systems (SPIES) lab and associate professor of computer and information sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences at UAB, is focused on a field of research that includes mobile and wireless security, and usable security. He has received several prior grants from NSF as well as from many industrial tech giants including Google, Comcast and Cisco.

UAB’s Joseph wins prestigious award in pediatrics
UAB’s Joseph wins prestigious award in pediatrics
David Joseph, M.D., lauded by UAB, Children’s of Alabama at the American Academy of Pediatrics for Excellence.

david joseph webDavid B. Joseph, M.D., professor in the Department of Urology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, has won the 2015 Wallace Alexander Clyde Distinguished Service Award for Excellence in Pediatrics from the UAB Department of Pediatrics, Children’s of Alabama and the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Joseph joined the faculty at UAB and the staff of Children’s of Alabama in 1986. He is chief of pediatric urology at Children’s, holding the Beverly P. Head Endowed Chair in Pediatric Urology. Joseph has a special interest in pediatric genitourinary reconstruction and neuro-urology. He has been active nationally with the Spina Bifida Association for more than 18 years and serves on its Board of Directors.

A native of Wisconsin, Joseph has an undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University and completed medical school and urology residency at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He went on to fellowship training in pediatric urology at Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School.

He is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and of the American College of Surgeons. He is a past president of the Society for Pediatric Urology. He is a trustee of the American Board of Urology and member of the ACGME Urology Residency Review Committee.

UAB’s Adult CF program wins national quality award
UAB’s Adult CF program wins national quality award
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation recognizes UAB’s Adult CF Program with Quality Care Award.

veena anthony2The Adult Cystic Fibrosis Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham has been selected as one of the 2015 recipients of the annual Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Quality Care Award: Recognizing Outstanding QI Processes and Accomplishments. 

The UAB Department of Medicine, in concert with UAB Hospital, developed the adult CF program with a team of health care personnel to provide comprehensive, evidence-based clinical care for adult patients with cystic fibrosis. The team includes nurses, nurse practitioners, respiratory therapists, nutritionists, social workers and physicians, and cares for more than 180 individuals with CF.

The program is also aligned with the UAB CF clinical trials unit and the Gregory Fleming James Cystic Fibrosis Research Center. The center is recognized internationally for its transformative clinical and basic research, including the development of new therapies for the treatment of this devastating disease.  

“We are gratified and excited to be recognized by CFF for the quality of our care,” said Veena Antony, M.D., professor in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care and director of the adult CF program. “We believe this is a signature program that will identify UAB as an international destination for patient care.”

The award marks sustained quality improvement work that improved outcomes. Performance standards include:

  • Actively using clinical outcomes data to identify opportunities for improvement and document results of improvement efforts
  • Aligning improvement efforts to result in measurable improvement in important clinical outcomes
  • Consistently and actively involving patients and families in identifying, designing and/or implementing improvement efforts
  • Employing innovative strategies to improve care processes and outcomes and implementing system changes that result in high reliability of care processes

Working with the CFF Center Committee, the CF Foundation instituted the Quality Care Award in 2008. The awards are presented each year at the U.S. Center and Program Directors’ meeting held in conjunction with the CFF North American CF Conference. Recipients of the award are chosen by the CFF Center Committee from the Programs visited during the most recent fall and spring site visit cycles previous to NACFC. 


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