Mater Research Higher Degree students present at Three Minute Thesis competition

Tuesday 25 July 2017

Higher Degree research students at Mater were recently given the opportunity to present their thesis research to an audience of both scientists and non-scientists at the Mater Research Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition.

The audience heard presentations from 13 Higher Degree research students on a wide range of topics from cancer to Viagra to inflammatory bowel disease to childhood anxiety.

The format of the 3MT event, allows Higher Degree research students three minutes and one slide to explain their thesis research.

Mater Student Research Committee member Dr Sandra Richardson said the 3MT competition was a great opportunity for students to showcase their work.

“The purpose of this contest is to help Mater Research students develop excellent communication skills, and to practice explaining their work concisely to a broad audience,” Dr Richardson said.

The presentations were assessed by three judges who awarded first prize to Amelia Fotheringham for her clear and considered presentation on kidney disease.  Amelia’s PhD project is titled “Understanding novel factors contributing to diabetes and kidney disease” and is under the supervision of Prof Josephine Forbes of the Glycation and Diabetes Group.  Her presentation focused on the impact of diet on kidney health and explained that her research had found that a decreased intake of protein in conjunction with an increased fat intake led to the worst outcomes for kidney health.

In second place, Mr Liam Dunn’s presentation described how he is investigating whether Viagra might be able to be used to help prevent an emergency caesarean.  Viagra is known to open up vessels to promote blood flow.  During labour, each contraction restricts blood flow to the fetus which can cause fetal distress and result in an emergency caesarean.  Liam is investigating whether the use of Viagra could help increase blood flow to the womb during labour and whether this would result in a reduction in the number of emergency caesarean’s required.

The audience at the 3MTs voted for the People’s Choice award which was presented to Lena Batoon for her report on her research into bone macrophages. Lena described how osteoporosis is underdiagnosed and under treated and explained how she is investigating the role bone macrophages have to play in improving healing and making sure “a minor slip doesn’t result in a broken hip”.

The 3MT event is organised by the Mater Student Research Committee and were founded by The University of Queensland.

Pictured: Amelia Fotheringham