Research scientist and engineer
I am a recent PhD graduate of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University. I studied brain injuries, and using a novel head impact measurement device, I investigated mechanisms of brain trauma that inform criteria for predicting injury risk and design of protective headgear.
Previously, I earned MS and BS degrees at Stanford in Mechanical Engineering. I am an NSF Graduate Research Fellow, Ford Predoctoral Fellow, Stanford Bio-X Graduate Fellow, Stanford School of Engineering Fellow, and Sloan Scholar. I enjoy sharing my work at scientific conferences and frequently connect with undergraduate and K-12 students through science outreach. Aside from university research, I have industry engineering experience from work with Boeing Commercial Airplanes in 2009 and 2011, and Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development in 2010.
Born in Miami, FL and son of Cuban immigrants, I'm an avid Latin dancer. When I'm not in lab or on the dance floor, I spend my time pursuing my interests in graphic design, SCUBA diving, travel, movies, and music.
HI, I'M FIDEL
Diagnosing and preventing brain injury
Brain injury is an important health problem, affecting many through vehicle collisions, violence, sports, recreation, and falls. Over 75% of reported injuries are classified as mild (e.g. concussion) and have been linked to long-term loss of brain function and depression. Mild brain injuries are often hard to detect and little is understood about what causes them. I study head impact biomechanics and am developing new ways of diagnosing and preventing mild brain injuries using novel instrumented mouthguards, high speed video, and computational simulations.
Mild brain injuries are notoriously difficult to diagnose. Little is known connecting impact forces and resulting damage to the brain at the tissue and cellular level. Moreover, symptoms are subtle and can often go undetected and unreported. I am working on developing novel instrumented mouthguards capable of measuring head motion during impact. With measurements of head acceleration, we can characterize injury biomechanics, assess the severity of an impact, and predict incidence in real time.
Controversy surrounds existing helmet testing & design standards. Most of these were developed several years ago to eliminate the incidence of severe, often fatal, brain injuries (e.g. skull fracture), and focus on reducing head linear acceleration. However, concussion is thought to be caused by head rotation. I have found that existing helmet test standards do not reproduce the typical rotation experienced by players in the field. Using field measurements gathered from instrumented mouthguards, I am developing a novel computational alternative for testing helmets and developing new designs.
What are the biomechanics of brain injury?
How should we design and test helmets?
Education, awards, and honors
Stanford University | Palo Alto, CA
B.S. Mechanical Engineering with Distinction and Tau Beta Pi Honors, June 2011
M.S. Mechanical Engineering, June 2013
Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering, August 2016
National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellow
Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellow
Stanford Bio-X Honorary Fellow | LINK TO AWARD BIO
Stanford School of Engineering Graduate Fellow
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation PhD Scholar
Instructor/Teaching Assistant, Stanford Mechanical Engineering Department
Boeing Scholar Award
Tau Beta Pi Honors Society
Send me a message!
©2012-2015 Fidel Hernandez. All Rights Reserved.