Nader Nassif

1. What is your specific area of research (include the name of your faculty and/or laboratory)?
I work at the Beckman Laser Institute in the Optical Coherence Tomography lab under the guidance of Professor Johannes de Boer.
2. When and how did you first get involved in research?

I got involved in research more than a year ago. I was interested in doing research that involved lasers and I knew that the Beckman Laser Institute would be the ideal place that would allow me to combine physics and biology (my two majors). For that reason, I decided to hunt around for faculty mentors who needed undergraduates. I e-mailed a few faculty mentors at the Beckman Laser Institute and talked with them about my interests. Dr. de Boer not only had a project that was interesting, but he seemed to be a very good person to work for.

3. How has research enhanced you education?

Without research, I believe that my education would have been hollow and empty. Research has forced me to truly learn physics and biology in order to understand what is going on in the lab. Without it, I believe that my knowledge would only be superficial. Research has allowed me to broaden my skills and learn many new and interesting things. For example, it has given me a chance to perfect my programming and communication skills in order to make a difference in the lab.

4. What has been you favorite experience with research (include any interesting stories or specific events)?
Working in a lab is like having a home away from home. My favorite experience(s) in the lab is how everyday’s life fits in with our experiments. For example, my group (which includes Dr. de Boer, a post doc, a graduate student and myself) can be working on an experiment that is extremely intense; however, our conversations will be about lighthearted stuff, such as the last movie we saw, or what we did over the weekend. In between our conversations, I’m able to ask questions about how a specific part works, or the ultimate goals of the project.
5. What are your future plans and how has being involved in research helped to prepare you to meet your goals?

My future plans are still uncertain, but I do want to pursue an M.D. or an M.D./Ph.D. Although obtaining an M.D./Ph.D. requires a lot of time, I know that it will be beneficial when answering questions to pertinent medical problems.

6. What advice would you give to a student interested in pursuing a faculty-mentored undergraduate research project or creative activity?

Start early! Find a faculty mentor you want to work with, learn about the labs on campus, and be realistic about what you want to do. Don’t work with a mentor because someone else said he/she is great. Make sure that you get along with him/her; otherwise, you won’t have the great experience in research that you should have.

Past Researchers of the Month

Dec. '00 Chris Gothard
Nov. '00 Kristoffer Nicolaisen
Oct. '00 Bryan Sommerse
Sep. '00 Ryan Stafford
Aug. '00 Carol Chao
Jul. '00 Gopi Manthrapagada
Jun. '00 Heather Smith
May '00 Pany Tehrani
Apr. '00 Kirsten Cappel
Mar. '00 Shelly Brown-Riddle
Feb. '00 Nader Nassif
Jan. '00 Rebecca Kanter
Recent Year