By Allison Garcia
Each researcher has their own motivation for why they do what they do. For some it is curiosity, for others it is a desire to help people. For David Gustafson, Principal Investigator for CHESS, and research professor at UW-Madison, the inspiration behind his work has always come from his family.
“I guess my whole research life has been built around my family. And so, you know, when I was a father of teenagers I wanted to be a better father and so I looked it up, finding ways in which what engineers do could help teenagers,” Gustafson said.
The research he does for CHESS focuses on creating a health service that is accessible and optimizes individual health behavior as well as quality of life. During his daughters teenage years he worked with topics like diets, stress, drugs and sex.
Later on, when his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, he was not satisfied with the care she was receiving so he worked to make it better through his research. Now there is a program through CHESS to help people with breast cancer get through tough times.
For Gustafson, it was his family that started him on a path that now directly benefits the lives of thousands.