Graduate students who really know their stuff
Let’s be honest: a lot of research at universities is very technical and involves difficult concepts. But is there a way to make complicated research understandable to the average person on the street?
The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition is designed to test graduate students on exactly that.
Twelve finalists made it through the 3MT® heats that took place on February 8, 9, 10 and 11, 2016. They move on to compete in the Final Competition on Thursday, February 25, 2016, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm in the Robert B. Schultz Lecture Theatre in St. John’s College on the Fort Garry Campus.
The public and the University of Manitoba community are invited to cheer on our innovative graduate students as they compete for the First Place ($5,000), Second Place ($2,000) and People’s Choice ($1,000) awards. Each competitor will have three minutes, using only a single slide as an illustration, to clearly explain the nature, goals and significance of his or her research.
This competition is not a walk in the park. It takes years for a thesis to be researched and finalized, so boiling it down to just three minutes and making it understandable to a lay audience is quite a feat in itself.
The challengers competing in the final are:
Mind over matter: Outsmarting the bacteria by brainwashing
Educated as a dentist, Bhagirath has a passion for understanding disease processes, particularly those of chronic diseases. She says research empowers her by providing skills to answer complex biological questions. She would like to use her training and skills towards advancing medical knowledge and eventually contribute to improving the quality of lives of individuals suffering with long term disease and compromised immune systems.
Biomedical Engineering (Master’s)
Expanding a Researcher’s Toolbox – A Model of Brain Energy
Cadonic always had a passion for mathematics and programming, but in university became fascinated by the field of neuroscience. He found his studies led to meaningful and rewarding research, particularly looking at mitochondrial dysfunction in Alzheimer’s disease, where he was soon inspired to approach the disease in a novel way―through the use of mathematics and computation. He plans to carry this forward in future research endeavors, and not only attempt to further the fundamental understanding of function and dysfunction, but also to impart this knowledge to the world to inspire and educate.
Robert (Bob) Chrismas
Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice (PhD)
Perceptions on confronting sexual exploitation in Canada
A 26-year veteran of Winnipeg Police Service, Chrismas’ doctoral research focuses on social justice and protecting vulnerable victims through improved service delivery and multi-agency, multi-disciplinary partnerships and organizational learning. Having worked with sexually exploited youth in his policing career, he has observed the way predators use debt bondage, psychological manipulation, social isolation and violence to groom and exploit young girls into prostitution. His research will make practical recommendations improving intervention and reduction/eradication of sexual exploitation and human trafficking in Canada.
Oh neighbour where art thou: How do black-tailed prairie dogs gauge attendance?
Couillard has been interested in animal behaviour since her early teens. During her undergraduate degree in Wisconsin, she volunteered with veterinarians in rural Central America, worked at an animal hospital and trained shelter dogs. After graduation, she interned at the Indianapolis Zoo and spent a summer in Panama working on howler monkey rehabilitation and ecological conservation, returning to her home state of Wisconsin to work at the humane society and to assist with tracking red-tailed hawks at the Four Lakes Wildlife Center.
Human Nutritional Sciences
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: Are pregnant women getting enough nutrients to reduce the risk?
After finishing her dietetic internship and working as a Clinical Dietitian in Thompson, Manitoba, Dyck came to realize her passion for maternal and child health, as well as Aboriginal health. This led her to undertake a master’s degree in community/clinical nutrition looking at the nutrient intake during pregnancy of women in Downtown and Point Douglas Winnipeg. She has volunteered with the Mothering Project at Mount Carmel Clinic for the last two years, supporting pregnant women and mothers with substance use issues.
Tricking the Trickster: Breakthrough in the fight against a deadly parasitic disease
Khadem has degrees in plant biology from institutions in Iran and has worked in a biomedical and pharmaceutical company. She is seeking to find a career which allows her to use her diverse scientific skills and knowledge in plant biology, immunology and infectious diseases to better the lives of people and translate bench-side research to bedside applications. She also would like to combine her leadership, business and management capabilities to excel in the translational life sciences sector.
Biochemistry and medical genetics
Eliminating the “Queen bee” in childhood brain tumours
Liang has always been curious about the remarkable nature of stem cells to become any cell in the body and wanted to learn more about how these cells can contribute to diseases. She hopes to pursue a post-doctoral fellowship and a career in academia and continue to conduct stem cell research. The experience she’s had in the last few years working with cancer stem cells has increased her interest in stem cell function; not only in cancer but also the role it may play in other diseases.
Architecture as stage, choreographer and performer
Misra is interested in how architecture influences our movement, behaviours and emotions. Her focus is on activating architecture’s role in the social and cultural context of the city by intensifying the relationship between the body and space to rediscover and celebrate the ordinary actions of everyday life. She hopes to become an architect, and eventually establish her own practice.
Allocation of attention to faces in autism
Rigby decided to pursue a career in clinical psychology when she was in high school, as she was always fascinated by the complexities of human behaviour and the cognitive processes that underlie them. She became interested in researching perception in autism spectrum disorder when she learned that people with this condition often show atypical attention to faces, which is thought to contribute to their social impairment. She hopes to develop a better understanding of how people on the autism spectrum attend to naturalistic social information, which could potentially inform interventions to help improve social functioning in this population.
Hear that face: Increasing facial emotional processing in those with autism spectrum disorder through a novel music to face pairing task
Smith has always been interested in a mixture of emotional processing, psychomusicology, neuroscience and autism spectrum disorder. He hopes to actively create and test ideas that might improve social interaction and reduce social cognitive deficits in those with autism spectrum disorder. Smith has volunteer experience at St. Amant Centre and is currently part of the Social Cognition Lab at the University of Manitoba.
Asper School of Business
Using Weather Data to Price Forage Insurance
Turenne has an honors degree in statistics and actuarial science and has presented his research at the 2014 International Agricultural Risk Finance and Insurance Conference. He chose to study Agricultural Risk Management because he has several family members who are involved in the agricultural industry and because he believes there is a need for more effective crop insurance around the world. He hopes to work either with the government or for a private reinsurance company to develop methods for pricing crop insurance.
Immersive virtual reality as a cognitive treatment tool for Alzheimer’s disease
While completing his computer engineering degree, White discovered the joy of research. He has received several NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards in diverse fields such as biomedical instrumentation, image processing/sensor fusion and automotive instrumentation. He has also developed applications for smartphones. His thesis work uses virtual reality to study the relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and spatial navigation.
The emcee for the Final Competition will be Paul Samyn, editor, Winnipeg Free Press. Judges will be: Patricia Bovey, chair, University of Manitoba Board of Governors; Dave Angus, president and CEO, Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce; and Christina Weise, CEO, Research Manitoba.
Doors open at 6:30 pm. Everyone is invited to cheer on the finalists, who will test their mettle in front of a live audience. A “People’s Choice” will also be awarded, chosen by the audience.
Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition originally developed by The University of Queensland. 3MT® challenges graduate students to consolidate their ideas and research discoveries so they can be presented concisely to a non-specialist audience.
The winner of the 3MT Final Competition here at the University of Manitoba will advance to the western regional competition in April.