She's a Scientist: Nicole Iverson
Biomedical engineer Nicole Iverson uses nanotechnology in the hopes of creating sensors that will detect diseases inside human cells.
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- [00:00:00.458](gentle music)
- [00:00:03.180]These are carbon nanotube sensors.
- [00:00:05.270]This is the nitric oxide that's traveling across the stream
- [00:00:09.330]and it's turning the sensors off.
- [00:00:11.470]Nicole Iverson is a biomedical engineer.
- [00:00:14.560]She designs tiny disease detectors using carbon nanotubes.
- [00:00:19.710]A carbon nanotube is a really, really small straw.
- [00:00:24.110]It can be any length.
- [00:00:25.690]The diameter, the part that you put your mouth on,
- [00:00:28.510]is one nanometer.
- [00:00:30.320]A nanometer is one billionth of a meter.
- [00:00:33.590]Iverson describes it like this.
- [00:00:36.000]If you took a nanoparticle
- [00:00:37.700]and you blew it up to the size of a marble,
- [00:00:39.952](nanoparticle creaking) about one centimeter.
- [00:00:42.610]If you took a red blood cell
- [00:00:44.760]and you blew it up the same amount,
- [00:00:46.880](red blood cell creaking)
- [00:00:49.350]it would be the size of the football stadium.
- [00:00:51.620]Go Big Red, Go Big Red!
- [00:00:53.600]So if you imagine putting a marble
- [00:00:55.420]in the middle of the football stadium,
- [00:00:57.600]that is putting a nanoparticle inside a cell.
- [00:01:01.090]Iverson makes carbon nanotube sensors
- [00:01:03.930]that will one day help diagnose disease inside our cells.
- [00:01:07.710]Our bodies function in a way
- [00:01:10.550]where the smallest little particle can make a difference.
- [00:01:13.460]And so if we don't understand it,
- [00:01:15.890]how can we understand how the body functions?
- [00:01:18.020]And how do we understand diseases, treat diseases,
- [00:01:20.630]all of that information.
- [00:01:22.500]Iverson learned firsthand
- [00:01:24.240]about the need for better medical testing.
- [00:01:26.760]As a teen, she became very ill.
- [00:01:29.370]She suffered for a year and a half before doctors
- [00:01:31.850]finally successfully diagnosed and treated her.
- [00:01:34.900]The experience gave her life a whole new direction.
- [00:01:38.510]So I decided I need to make the tests
- [00:01:41.380]so that doctors can use them
- [00:01:43.280]and they can figure out what's wrong with their patient.
- [00:01:45.480]And once they know what's wrong, then they can treat it.
- [00:01:47.960]Because not knowing what's wrong with you when you're sick
- [00:01:50.400]is one of the worst feelings.
- [00:01:53.300]And so this research can make huge differences.
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