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Vanesa Dabul

An Engineer Explains Natural Phenomena

The earliest form of engineering I remember practicing is untying knots. Yes knots! I grew up on a sailboat and I imagine I must have been a handful, well I know I was.  My father would give me complicated knots to decipher. I am not sure if he formed them himself, or if they formed by chance, but I was always untying them.

I never imagined that that my silly skill could one day turn into a career. Before navigating my way into engineering, growing up I envisioned myself as an ophthalmologist and sometime during high school signed up for an internship at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, Fl.

At Bascom I studied ocular stem cells and made my first contribution to a scientific research paper published in the medical journal Experimental Eye Research (2002) for our Stem Cell discovery work.

As a pre-med biology student at the University of Miami, I realized due to competition, I would need more than grades to get into a good medical school. To gain an edge, I switched to the least popular and most challenging pre- med program at UM, Biomedical Engineering. At this point I was still conducting research at Bascom while attending school full time, and I was able to steer my research into the biomedical world. Studying cellular biomechanics, we regenerated tissues using stem cells and different methods of inducing the growth (mechanical and chemical).  

Because of my background, I was hired by a small local tissue engineering startup company in 2002, where I designed devices to improve the stem cell culture process and ocular surface healing process (Patented ProKera Ocular lens). I was the only scientist on staff with an engineering background and loved it. Hello Medical Device world! I forgot about med school and switched to the mechanical  biomedical engineering  program.

With huge support from mentors, friends, and fellow classmates, I continued learning about product development by leading our senior design team to a First Place Award in the 2004 Technical Entrepreneurship competition for inventing, designing, and building a prototype novel auditory device, the R-Tone. Although I wanted to continue my R-tone endeavor after college, my financial situation at the time convinced me that accepting a development engineer position for Johnson and Johnson, the epitome of corporate America, was not the worst of ideas.

For years I had been collecting knowledge in physics, sound, waves, biology, biomechanics, and now found myself learning the business world.  I started to get into technical writing during my days at J & J.  Within FDA regulated environments, such as the J & J development world, every technical or scientific happening we encountered had to be well documented in short simple language. 

I also started taking on fun side projects, and these kept me very happy and balanced the corporate energy I experienced daily.  The  consulting side projects I take on consist mostly of development escapades such as  engineering concept and design for different types of devices (not just medical), research and production for an independent science and technology documentary film, and most recently I began to venture into helping start ups walk into the emerging bio-tech and telemedicine markets .  I am always exited to take on new scientific ventures.

Since I was always very interested in physics, but didn’t have the appropriate background for an MS in physics, I chose to enroll in a mechanical engineering program where I could apply the biomedical engineering background and continue developing my knowledge of the physics theories.  In 2006 I began researching bio-composite material failure, crack formation, healing processes, air flows, vibrations, and how the body interacted with these. I found myself making some very unique discoveries in alternative healing methods using sub sonic sound and music, which I turned into a scientific paper for my Master’s Thesis.   

Whenever I told anyone about my research, they were super interested in knowing more. This is why I decided to turn my scientific research into a fun, easy to understand book, so everyone could easily understand my discoveries. The publication I had been worked on was very technical, and many people that were interested were not. I had to learn how to reach out to the non scientist’s world with science so I started NuciferSam.com as a way for me to train myself in delivering science to non scientists.

Nucifer Sam is dedicated to explanation of natural phenomenon (my book will be too! ) and has had plenty of success doing that in the short few months it’s been alive. I hope you will check it out here at www.NuciferSam.com and be sure to find me on facebook at www.facebook.com/Nucifersam where I will be posting information for upcoming science+art+music exhibits we are working on. You can read a little more about the paths I took during my career on my linked in page at www.linkedin.com/in/vanesa and here http://www.livestrong.com/article/157461-how-music-affects-the-human-brain/  is a link to a fun article I recently wrote for the Livestrong Foundation on Music’s affects on the Brain, one of my favorite research topics along with healing through music and sound. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me via my biocrowd profile http://www.biocrowd.com/profiles/19713  or email nuci@nucifersam.com.

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