Let’s talk about you: what is your background, what do you teach, and what are your research interests?.
My name is Debora Slanzi, I research Statistics at the Department of Management and I teach courses in Basic and Advanced Statistics. I focus on Methodological Statistics and Data Mining approaches for the analysis of complex high-dimensional systems. My research focuses on multivariate statistical analysis, predictive analytics and the study of dependency patterns through graphical models and Bayesian networks. I have participated in several interdisciplinary European projects and this has helped me develop a problem-oriented approach by developing innovative statistical methods for the analysis of real data that are often hard to treat with classical methods.
Tell us about your academic path.
I obtained my PhD in Statistics at the University of Padua. During my PhD I had the chance to spend some research periods at the Department of Computer Science of Aalborg University where I specialised in the properties of Bayesian networks. After my PhD I won some scholarships at the University of Padua and Pavia. After that I won some research grants at the European Centre for Living Technology (ECLT), an international and interdisciplinary centre linked to Ca' Foscari where I started approaching European project design and the study of related real and complex problems. I then won a public competition at Ca' Foscari and became a researcher in Statistics.
What has given you the greatest satisfaction in your career?
The first article published in an international journal, the first paper invited to a conference abroad, the first project won as Principal Investigator and the gratitude of students who take a different look at Statistics thanks to the passion they feel during my classes.
What are you most passionate about in your research?
The art of statistics is to get the data to talk: they can tell many stories and it is up to us researchers to find the right way. I always tell my students to think outside the box, to open their minds, to use creativity and scientific rigour to bring out what the data collect. I also work with people from different scientific backgrounds to develop applied research, which gives me the chance to learn new things all the time.
Have you always known that this was going to be your path?
I started to realise that I liked research during my degree. When I won the PhD scholarship, I thought it was worth trying. Since then, I have continued to study to improve myself and achieve the goals that this career sets for you. I don't deny that I have had moments of discouragement, and I believe that passion in this job is necessary to move forward. And thankfully I have plenty of that!