Ryan Manning



Program and Year of Study

PhD Developmental Psychology, 4th year 

Previous degrees and colleges

BSc Multicultural Psychology, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

AA Psychology, Allan Hancock College

Where did you grow up?

Pismo Beach, CA

Where do you live now?

Davis, CA

What's your favorite spot in Davis?

The Old Teahouse (Umami beef is amazing!)

How do you relax?

Typically, I will jump behind the wheel and go for a drive to unwind. I also like going to the gym to work any stress and anxiety out there.

What was the last book you read for pleasure?

Rulers of the Horoscope by Alan Oken. I’m a little odd...

What TV show are you currently binge-watching?

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

Research interests

I’m interested in how our environment impacts our development from the prenatal period through adolescence. I want to understand the psychological, neurological, biological and epigenetic impact of these environmental variations.

Dissertation title or topic

My topic is still in development, but it will most likely focus on how the parent/child relationship impacts cortico-limbic connectivity and the regulation of emotions.

Please share a surprising or noteworthy fact or finding from your research

That research is difficult. No results as of yet.

Which professor or class inspired you to pursue graduate studies?

Taylor F. Smith, a professor at Cal Poly, helped me to believe I have what it takes to pursue this path in life. My inspiration to pursue graduate studies came indirectly from my mother.

Which scholarly text do you wish you had written? Why?

“The Perineuronal Net and the Control of CNS Plasticity” by D. Wang and J. Fawcett.. Once I learned how perineuronal nets function in the development of neural connections I was hooked. This was the first paper I read on the subject.

Which other researchers at UC Davis are doing work that particularly interests you?

I find the work of Amanda Guyer and the T.E.E.N. lab very interesting as my interest in neural development during adolescence matches up with the work coming out of her lab. Karen Bales and her lab study the neurobiology of monogamy in prairie voles and titi monkeys which I also find very interesting.

What's the best thing about being a grad student?

The opportunity to forge your own path

What's the worst?

The search for funding

If you weren't a grad student, what would you be doing?

Working on a cheetah reserve

Finally, please ask yourself a question

If you could go back in time and give yourself advice prior to starting your program, what would you tell yourself?

If the work you are tasked with isn’t going to benefit you in the long run, don’t do it. It's OK to say no. This is your path to forge, not anyone else’s.

—May 2018


Are you a grad student in the Division of Social Sciences at UC Davis? Do you enjoy answering questions? If so, .