Recently I had the opportunity to attend the thesis defense of Kimberly Ray, a doctoral student in Radiological Sciences working under the mentorship of Dr. Angela Laird, a faculty member working in Dr. Peter Fox’s group at the Research Imaging Institute (RII). Dr. Laird moved to the Florida International University in Miami a while back and Kimberly moved as well, although she remained a student here at our HSC. The title of Dr. Ray’s thesis was “A graph theoretical analysis of human intrinsic connectivity networks“. Since I was on her dissertation committee, I not only saw her public presentation, but also witnessed her private defense where she passed with flying colors, to say the least. I asked Dr. Ray three questions.
What did you learn?
I learned that there is a high correspondence of the brain’s network organization and interactions during a goal directed task and the task-free state. This indicates that the brain is continuously and dynamically active, even when at rest. In addition, the brain’s network organization has been consistently identified across healthy individuals. These findings ultimately provide a foundation for disease diagnosis based on altered network function in the brain.
I accepted a postdoctoral fellowship at UC Davis in the department of Psychiatry. At UC Davis, I will be working with Dr. Cameron Carter, an expert in studying cognitive control and schizophrenia. I chose this fellowship so that I could gain experience working with clinical populations, mainly schizophrenia and psychosis related disorders. This will give me an opportunity to apply the techniques I learned while at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio to investigate dysfunction in the brain associated with schizophrenia and psychosis.
Any advice for your fellow graduate students?
Graduate school is tough; make sure to celebrate the small victories and take setbacks in stride. Also, do your best to find a balance between school, friends, and family.
Well done, Dr. Ray. We will be watching for great things from you down the road. And of course trying to get you to donate money to the grad school as an alumnus.