Meet the Team: Ben Delibac, Systems Technician

Name: Ben Delibac

Position: Systems Technician

How long have you been working at MBF Bioscience? One and a half years.

What do you do? I make sure that the our systems are all in perfect working condition before they go out to the customers. My job is to test the microscope pieces, motorized components, cameras, and computers, and make sure everything is working well together as a complete package. I also install the software onto the computers and configure the graphics cards; and I research and test new computer components and microscopy cameras that our customers are interested in.

What are you working on right now? I am starting to gear up for the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting. As a team we are starting to configure the systems that we will be sending to the show in New Orleans. We will have a wide variety of hardware on display so there is a lot of integration work to be done. It’s the most exciting time of the year.

What’s the best part about your job? My favorite part of my job is testing new components for our systems like graphics cards for our computers or cameras for our microscopes. I love trying out brand new equipment so that our company can continue to be on the cutting edge of our industry.

Tell us about the last vacation you took: Last summer I flew out to Montana to visit a friend who is going to school out there. We went hiking up to an elevation higher than 9000 feet, which was a first for me. The landscape was so dry. From the summit we could see four or five separate wildfires burning in the distance. The summer climate is so different than the humid summers of Vermont.

How do you spend your free time? In the outdoors, being active. I like to run, bike, and fish in the summer, and snowboard in the winter. I hope we have more snow in Vermont this year!

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Meet the Team: Amri Karim, Ph.D.

 

Who: Amri Karim, Ph.D.

Position: Staff Scientist/Imaging Specialist

How long have you been working at MBF Bioscience? 6.5 years

Where are you located? I’m based in Malaysia, but I travel to the Vermont office three or four times a year.

What is your research area of interest? Image processing, neuron morphometrics, 3D visualization, and automated quantification.

What does your job entail? I work on enhancing MBF Bioscience products with the latest technological advancements in image processing and 3D visualization. Primarily, I develop algorithms that enhance the image processing and the 3D visualization capabilities in AutoNeuron, AutoSpine, Neurolucida, and Stereo Investigator.

Can you tell us what you’re working on right now? Currently I’m working on algorithms for AutoNeuron and AutoSpine.

How do you spend your free time? Working out, fixing things, listening to music, playing music, playing tennis, and reading about the latest electronic gadgets and technologies on my phone.

Tell us about the last vacation you took. My wife and I enjoyed a terrific week at the Mabul and Sipadan Islands in Malaysia in 2009 (see the photo). Since then we’ve taken a few mini-vacations and weekend getaways. Last month we spent two days in the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia. The region is one of the few places in Malaysia where the temperature is close to spring time in Vermont. We had fresh strawberry salads at the strawberry farm and nice masala tea at the tea plantation.  It is nice and cool up there, with temperatures between 54-77°F.

Meet the Team: Erica Cannon, Operations Administrator

Name: Erica Cannon

Position: Operations Administrator

How long have you been working at MBF Bioscience? 4.5 years

What does your job entail? I work with a team of four people in the operations department. One of my biggest responsibilities is handling new orders. This involves processing, ordering equipment, invoicing, and shipping.

I handle most of the company’s shipments including international shipments which can get pretty involved due to the customs regulations for the many different countries we sell our systems to. I also arrange the freight transportation of our equipment to trade shows we attend to ensure our equipment stays safe and arrives at each show on time. I also help answer the phones and have the pleasure of assisting colleagues and customers with their various needs.

What do you love most about your job? Learning. I learn something new every day! A new day brings a new experience whether it be running errands for the office or spending the day wrapped-up in international shipping documentation. I love the pace of my daily tasks which vary from day to day. The variety of my day keeps me interested and engaged.

Tell us about the last vacation you took. I brought my two boys to Hampton Beach, New Hampshire to see the ocean. Seeing them experience the ocean for the first time was amazing. They wandered the beach for hours looking for any living sea creatures and were absolutely amazed at how many crabs and starfish they saw.  I love sharing new adventures with my children every year.

How do you spend your free time? My family has a small backyard sugar house. Each spring, we tap the trees, collect the sap, boil, and bottle all by hand. During the summer months, I love to go camping. I love being outdoors and spending time with my friends and family.

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Meet the Team: Ben Haydock, Senior Software Engineer

Name: Ben Haydock

Position: Senior Software Engineer

How long have you been working at MBF Bioscience? 10 years

What do you do? I develop software. Most recently, I’ve been working on our imaging system and hardware integration. For imaging, I develop advanced features that help the user acquire the images they want. Another feature I worked on lets the user modify the display of those images for optimum image analysis.

On the hardware integration side, I work on code that communicates with motorized microscopes, light sources, filter wheels, and stages. The code I write allows our software to move all those pieces of hardware so the user doesn’t have to. Recently, I integrated our software with the current family of Zeiss laser confocal microscopes.

What do you love most about your job? I love graphics, I like to make hardware go, and I enjoy seeing my co-workers every day.

Tell us about the last vacation you took. My brother holds a cross country ski race every year on some land that we share with our sister here in Vermont. So I took some time off to help shovel snow out of the woods onto the cross country ski trails. After the race, my kids and I went skiing on those trails. That’s my  idea of vacation.

How do you spend your free time? I spend it playing with my kids, riding my bike, and skiing when I can find some snow.

Meet the Team: Angus Pan, Technical Sales Manager, China, and Taiwan

Name: Angus Pan

Position: Manager, MBF Bioscience Branch Office of the Greater China Area (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan)

Where are you based? Shanghai, China

How long have you been working at MBF Bioscience? Almost five years.

What do you do? I help customers with technical support, I visit potential customers, and I train my colleagues to do system installations. This year I spent a lot of time representing the company at the major scientific conferences in China such as The 9th Biennial Conference of the Chinese Neuroscience Society in Zhengzhou, and the 13th International Congress for Stereology in Beijing.

Do you travel frequently for work? Yes, I travel a lot through China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. If a customer requires support in person, I will arrange for a visit. This fall I spent quite a bit of time in Beijing, installing systems and visiting customers who were interested in our software. Also, I just got back from the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington DC. It was great!

China’s strength in the economic and business sectors has grown tremendously over the last decade. Have you witnessed similar growth in the scientific and medical fields? Yes, the Chinese government gives a lot of support to scientific and medical research. China hasn’t been infected by the global economic storm, and the government in China has been able to provide a stable increase to the fund.

What do you like most about your job? I like to take on challenges, I like to interact with customers, I like to travel… It’s hard to say which part of my job I like the “most,” but I can tell you one thing for sure, I like all my colleagues at MBF Bioscience, we have the best support team in the world!

How do you spend your free time? Sometimes I go to the gym at night, but I stay home most weekends and holidays because it is too crowded in Shanghai during the weekend.

What was the last vacation you took? I just got married in June, so my wife and I spent a fantastic time in Hawaii during our honeymoon. We really enjoyed it, the sun, the sea, the rainbows… and we even swam with dolphins! It was an unforgettable experience.

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Meet the Team: Jack Glaser, President

Name: Jack Glaser

Position: President

Years at MBF Bioscience: 24

What do you do? On a typical day, I am involved with many aspects of running the company. I spend a lot of time engaged with the product development team to design, develop, and refine new features in both existing products and entirely new products. I am also involved with the customer support side of our business, especially working with customers who are using our products to push the envelope with new research. I also oversee the sales, marketing, and operations aspect of our business. I have quite a varied day, which I find to be very intellectually fulfilling.

What have been some of the most exciting events that occurred over the history of the company? One of the most exciting events that I can recall occurred when we were pioneering the field of virtual slides. I showed a visiting researcher one of the very first virtual slides created of an entire specimen using a 40x objective lens. His reaction still resonates with me. He said, “Oh my God, do you know what you have here? You are going to revolutionize how people do science and teach medical school!” Looking back at that moment, now more than 10 years ago, he was right.

As president of the company, you must travel frequently for work. What was the last business trip you took? My last business trip was to New York City, where I visited the labs of some of our customers and collaborators.

What have been some of the most interesting labs you’ve visited? For me there is always a special interest in seeing how labs in various countries around the world integrate their local culture into their workspaces, yet it is interesting to see how the principles of science remain universal. Labs in India, China, and Japan stand out in my memory. And it is always interesting to visit the lab of a Nobel laureate.  

You’ve been recognized as an outstanding manager and leader. Your company was named one of the Best Places to Work in Vermont, and you received the award for Vermont Small Business Person of the Year. Can you offer some advice on starting and running your own business? There is no secret formula to starting or running a business, but if you have the willingness to work hard, the focus to succeed on every level — from accomplishing minor details to completing full projects, and if you always have the posture of being open to learn and apply new things, you will succeed.

What do you love most about your job? If I had to give one answer, it would be that I love working with researchers in labs around the world to do new, very challenging technical things that have never been done before. 

What was the last vacation you took? Vacation? What’s that? Well, that’s my old answer. Now I am able to take more time. I love vacationing on St. John with my family, being on the beach in the middle of winter.

Check back next week for our Q&A with Jack about the upcoming Society for Neuroscience’s Annual Meeting.

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Meet the Team: Alissa Wilson, Stereology Lab Technician

Name: Alissa Wilson

Position: Stereology Lab Technician

How long have you been working MBF Bioscience? 4 years

What do you do? I’m part of the MBF Labs contract research team that performs stereological analyses for customers. Every day I’m using MBF Bioscience software right here in the office. My work mainly involves the Optical Fractionator and Cavalieri probes of Stereo Investigator, but I also perform neuron reconstruction and imaging of many different types of tissue with Neurolucida. Also, the developers often ask us to test new software features, and it’s always exciting to be among the first to see new improvements.

What do you love about your job?  I love that each contract is different so I get to use different probes on different tissue. I also enjoy coming up with new ideas to make the software easier not only for us to use, but also the customers. Oftentimes when we use a new probe, we offer suggestions on ways to make it more efficient for the user. It is also very fulfilling to see a project through from the start to the final report.

How do you spend your free time?  I fill up my free time with my husband and animals. I have two horses, two dogs, and two cats. I also foster dogs and cats for a local rescue, so it is always exciting at my house. I love to be outdoors riding the horses and taking the dogs hiking on the great Vermont trails.

What was the last vacation you took?  My last vacation was my honeymoon to Aruba. It was a great place to visit and the water was amazing. My favorite part of the trip was exploring the island by jeep, and snorkeling with the fish.

Find out more about the stereological analysis work we do at MBF Labs.

Meet the Team: Norikazu Okada, Technical Sales, Japan

Name: Norikazu Okada

Position: Technical Sales, Japan

How long have you been leading MBF Bioscience Japan? 8 years. We started MBF Japan in 2003.

What does your job entail? I sell MBF Bioscience products in Japan, and travel around the country installing systems and offering technical support to our Japanese customers.

The 34th Annual Meeting of the Japan Neuroscience Society takes place next week. What will MBF Bioscience be presenting at the conference? We will be presenting the latest versions of Neurolucida, AutoNeuron, Stereo Investigator, Microlucida, and Densita.

Is there anything you’re most looking forward to at this year’s meeting? I’m really looking forward to introducing AutoSpine and the Confocal Laser Scanning Extension Module to Japanese researchers. Many of the researchers I work with have expressed an interest in automated Spine Analysis, and my customers who work with confocal stereology will be excited about the confocal integration.

What do you like most about your job? I enjoy interacting with our Japanese customers and especially enjoy introducing our advanced products and new features to them.

How do you spend your free time? I care for the garden, and I go to my son’s tennis matches.

Tell us about your last vacation. I went to Izu with my family this summer. Izu is a famous hot springs resort in Japan. It was relaxing!

Meet the Team: Robin Gottfried, Administrative Assistant/Technician

Name: Robin Gottfried

Position: Administrative Assistant/Technician

How long have you been working at MBF Bioscience? 10 years

What do you do? Multi-tasking is the name of the game for me here at MBF Bioscience. On any given day I could be creating dongles or CDs for our software, acquiring specific data from various databases, editing the audio from our latest webinar, testing monitors, ordering computers, calling accounts payable departments, or assembling new office chairs. There’s never a dull moment around here for me! But my main focus is handling incoming calls. Most people who call in are looking for support, be it technical or sales. I try to help them feel comfortable and welcome, and get them the answers they’re looking for as quickly and thoroughly as possible.

What do you like most about your job? My job is diversified enough to keep this “musician in real life” interested and challenged. I especially enjoy helping our customers with various issues, managing the databases, and performing automated spreadsheet operations.

How does your experience as a musician relate to your job at MBF Bioscience? In addition to giving me a tendency to tell bad jokes, being a musician has enabled me to view life as variations on a theme. Like counterpoint in music, life offers intersecting obligations in our everyday jobs and existences. My experience in a digital recording studio has certainly enhanced my latent “geek factor,” (as my wife puts it), which aids in my endeavors here at MBF Bioscience. I enjoy learning database and website-building techniques from my colleagues, as well as my own independent studies. This diversification has definitely made this die-hard musician not mind getting up early in the morning to go to work and put in a good day.

How do you spend your free time? I’m a musician and published songwriter, so I spend most of my free time in my recording studio writing and recording. I also play competitive volleyball, and I enjoy chess, and a good game of scrabble. Also, reading books is a necessity, as is chatting online with my children and grandchild as often as possible.

Tell us about your last vacation. This summer we spent a few days in the mountains of Vermont followed by a few days on the ocean. We sat on the beach and listened as the pebbles applauded each receding wave.

Listen to Robin’s music on his website, and check out his blog A Songwriter’s Dilemma.

Meet the Team: Jeff Blaisdell, Senior Software Engineer

Name: Jeff Blaisdell

Position: Senior Software Engineer

How long have you been working at MBF Bioscience? 3 years

What do you do? As a developer, I get to spend most days either writing or designing code. I’ve been lucky enough to work on most of our software products, so there’s never a dull day. On a typical day I may find myself working on software, attending a quick meeting, or working directly with a customer. As project leader for Biolucida® Cloud, I’ve had the honor of working with an amazing group of developers. We’re all extremely excited for the upcoming release, and cannot wait to get Biolucida into the hands of our customers!

What do you love about your job? There hasn’t been a day yet for me here at MBF that hasn’t flown by—most days end with me wishing I had a few more minutes. The MBF team is wonderful—developers, support, operations—all are some of the best coworkers you could ask for. From a development point of view, the work we get to do at MBF is both challenging and fun. Much of the work I’ve done in the last year has focused on cross-platform development, so on any given day I get to develop on Windows, Linux, and Mac OSX. Each has their own strengths and I really enjoy getting to work on all of them.

How do you spend your free time? I love biking, both mountain and road, so if I have free time that’s likely what I’m doing. I’ve spent many past winter seasons telemarking at Smuggler’s Notch and hope to get out more this year. Most nights I find myself on a computer, either finishing up something I didn’t get to earlier in the day, or working on personal projects. I’ve been dabbling in Clojure, a dialect of the Lisp programming language, for the last year or so, and it’s been a real pleasure.

What was the last vacation you took? We were just at Little Sebago Lake in Maine for a week, at the cottage I spent most of my childhood. Getting to share those memories with my own kids was terrific.

Jeff leads a webinar on Biolucida Cloud Wednesday, July 27, with Staff Scientist Jose Maldonado. Register now!

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