“As scientists, we owe it to humanity to do better than our best ever in research. It’s not only mandatory, but honorable and responsible; to search deep for proof and insight in the legacy of colleagues and the brilliant scientists before us.”
Néstor grew up in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico where he attended the University of Puerto Rico, College of Engineering and Sciences for his bachelor’s degree in Physics. While pursuing his undergraduate degree, Néstor’s motivation in scientific research further solidified when exposed to astronomy and atmospheric sciences research.
In 1995, upon enlisting in the United States Air Force, he moved to San Antonio. Later in 1997, Néstor got commissioned as a United States Air Force health physicist and shortly after he enrolled in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at UT Health San Antonio as a non-degree student. In 2006, the United States Air Force sent him back to our program and Néstor completed a M.S. in Medical Physics with a specialization in Radiation Therapy Physics.
While on active duty, Néstor was involved in many aspects of radiological sciences such as; radiation shielding, medical physics testing, nuclear medicine, safe use of radioactive materials and regulatory compliance, radiological-nuclear emergency response, laser and radiofrequency safety, etc.
Upon retirement, he applied and was admitted into to our Radiological Sciences Ph.D. program-Diagnostic Imaging Physics track. Néstor enjoys volunteering as a Teaching Assistant for the Intermediate Medical Spanish class and was recently awarded the Julio C. Palmaz Endowment for Excellence in Radiology Research Pilot Grant Award FY19 for the project entitled “Measuring the Half-value Layer in Computed Tomography.”
“All these years I’ve been thinking how to improve radiation dosimetry calculations as related to computed tomography. More specifically, I’m working on finding a way to perform computed tomography beam quality measurements in imaging conditions that closely resemble those of the standard patient imaging protocols.”
Néstor’s research gave rise to an invention; the MuCT™ device. Inspired by his parents, encouraged by his sons, and the expert advice and support from the UT Health Office of Technology Commercialization, the MuCT™ device has now a U.S. Patent Pending No. 62/654016 and plans for commercialization.
Néstor explains; “Preliminary results suggest that the MuCT™ device may successfully be used in measuring the beam quality of a computed tomography photon beam while using standard patient imaging protocols. As with any innovative research or scientific claim, a healthy discussion, a robust scientific validation, and results confirmation must follow.”
In the near future, Néstor plans to pursue a faculty position which will allow him to continue to teach and conduct research in the radiation therapy physics and/or imaging physics fields.
“A son to two educators, I strongly believe that mentoring, facilitating, and providing guidance to our future young scientists is very rewarding and as important to me as any research goals.”
This article is part of the “Meet The Researcher” series which showcases researchers at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio.