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A non-traditional research career shaped by passion and a “can do” attitude

Photo on 2012-03-06 at 13.52

Welcome!

Thanks for your interest in my research, and career. You can start here reading about my Research and Projects and Life experiences. Do not forget to also check out my Music passion and read some of my Blog post where you will find my thoughts on what is important for science development, as well of some pointers around technology and entrepreneurship in Latin America. If you want to know more about my business experience, please visit my LinkedIn page.

MOTIVATION FOR MY PhD DEGREE:

Since my teen years I had to endure a difficult but illuminating, and in many ways highly humanizing and spiritual, challenge in life. I had to help, but mostly learn from, a fantastic human being, a family member who has a debilitating mental disorder.

I self taught and researched a lot about his problem, and later in life, after finishing my Fulbright scholarship at Georgia Tech, was able to bring him to the US to receive an intensive Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) treatment. After witnessing his personal strength and the power of CBT – he improved in a month more than he had over the past 10 years under solely medications – I decided to do more, and while working full time. I invested out of pocket money to fund some students from the best technical university in Quito, Ecuador, to do some mobile research on anxiety monitoring.

Realizing then the extent of the role that technology can play in democratizing and spreading effective and simple mental health treatments or interventions, and with the full support and encouragement of my beloved wife Claudia, I decided  to dedicate my life to research mental health technology. We took a big risk and traded a very successful business career, for a gamble to try to study this problem deeply, quitting Intel, and joining UC Berkeley, where I have been doing a lot of great research on technology for mental health and behavior change for the past 4 years under Prof. John Canny’s mentorship.

During this incredible journey, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with some excellent and inspiring researchers in my field, such as Sunny Consolvo, at Google and Mary Czerwinski, at Microsoft Research. With Mary and her group we continue to envision new technologies to improve adoption and efficacy of mental health, affective computing interventions and sensing.