Susan Barman, PhD

How did you become interested in neuroscience?
An early sign that I was destined to be a scientist was that, at the age of 9, I spent my summer trying to "teach" soap to float. "If Ivory soap can float, other soaps should be able to too" was often heard by those who asked me about my "experiments" conducted in the bathtub. Then in my high school honors biology class, we also got to design experiments. I never imagined one could actually make a career out of doing this!

What was the academic/professional path you had to take to get here?
As a Biology major at Loyola University in Chicago, I took a course in Vertebrate Physiology. The lectures on the nervous system and on the cardiovascular system were by far my favorite. My instructor knew I really enjoyed this class and, on my last day of high school, he suggested I pursue a doctoral degree in Physiology. No one in my family had ever gone to college, let alone graduate school. So he advised me on what I needed to do. I am so glad that he took the time to help me! I was accepted into the program in the Department of Physiology at Loyola University of Chicago Medical Center, and there I was lucky to be able to work in a laboratory that combined my interests in the nervous system and cardiovascular system. After getting my degree, I came to Michigan State University for what was supposed to before two years. But those two years have grown into 35 years!

What are your current research interests?
I have spent my entire career doing research on how the brain controls blood pressure.

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