From Minnesota to New York to California, Deborah Barany is a Gaucho on the go. After earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in neuroscience and mathematics at Hamilton College in New York, she became a Ph.D. candidate in dynamical neuroscience, a new program at UC Santa Barbara. This is where Deborah fostered her passion for understanding how the brain functions to make complicated movements.
Working closely with professor Scott Grafton, Deborah became fascinated with how the brain controls goal-oriented action. “I was interested in sports and music and, more specifically, how we move to achieve these goals,” she said. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), Deborah is able to measure brain activity by looking at changing levels of blood flow. The UCSB Brain Imaging Center is one of Deborah’s happy places, a research facility that she says she will definitely miss.
Deborah has also taken her skills beyond the research lab. In 2014, she participated in the Grad Slam, a campuswide competition for the best three-minute research talk. She was a finalist in the event and was inspired to team up with other female grad students to showcase their talents elsewhere. Hoping to inspire a new generation of neuroscientists, Deborah and others visited local schools to deliver their talks. She finds that she enjoys teaching and engaging in these conversations with students.
The past three months have been a whirlwind for Deborah as she puts the finishing touches on her research and prepares to move to Georgia. She will be a post-doc at Emory University while her husband, Logan, will be starting his faculty position nearby at the University of Georgia. While she is excited for her future, she knows there will be many things she’ll miss about UCSB, not to mention the people, from her friends and peers to her mentors. Luckily, she’ll be leaving with many fond memories of this campus.
We can’t wait to hear about all the great things you’ll achieve, Deborah!
Written by Miranda Chan