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Last year's finalists: (L-R) Anthony Signore, Amy Flasko, Christopher White, Amy Scott, Jennifer Juno, Leah (Wong) Guenther, Heather Campbell-Enns, Julia Gamble, Marcos Cordeiro.

Three Minute Thesis shortlist announced

January 24, 2014 — 

Do graduate students “know their stuff” well enough to explain their research in a way that is easy for a lay audience to understand?

Open to all U of M graduate students in thesis-based programs, 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.

Each challenger has three minutes to clearly explain the nature, goals and significance of his or her research. One static slide may be included as an illustration.

The 135 students who entered were narrowed down to 27 contestants, who will compete in three heats. Heats begin on February 6 and continue until February 13, as follows: Heat 1, February 6; 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., E3-270 Engineering, Fort Garry Campus; Heat 2, February 11, 2:30 to 4:30p.m., E3-270 Engineering, Fort Garry Campus; Heat 3, February 13, 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., in Theatre A – Basic Medical Sciences, Bannatyne Campus.

The Final Competition takes place on February 25, 7:00 to 9:00 pm at the Robert B. Schultz Lecture Theatre at St. John’s College. This year’s winner will compete at the regional final in Calgary on May 2, with an opportunity to move forward to the national final later in May.

Here are this year’s challengers.

Heat 1

Ashish Singh: “A Dog Tail Interface for Utility Robots”
Mohamed Ouf: “The Impact of Occupancy and Usage on School Buildings Energy Consumption”
Olivia Sylvester: “Protecting Rainforest Biodiversity at Odds with Rights to Food for Indigenous People”
Megan McClarty: “Silicon Wires, Solar Power, Sustainable Energy”
Kelsey O’Brien: “The Relationship Between Reproduction and the Immune System: African Ground Squirrels with Large Testicles as a Perfect Study Animal”
Richard Dyrkacz: “Which Factors Influence Corrosion Behavior of Artifical Hip Joints?”
Michael Minor: “Decolonizing Indigenous Poetry”
Alexander Komarov: “New Methods for Detecting Changes in Arctic Sea Ice from Space”
Havva Filiz Koksel: “The Perfect Loaf of Bread: Insights from X-rays, Sound Waves and Bubble Dynamics”


Heat 2

Leila Mostaco-Guidolin: “What is Beneath the Surface: A New Way to Visualize Atherosclerosis Through Optical Imaging”
Mansoor Alghooneh: “How to Retrieve the Lost Walking Skill due to Lower-limb Amputation”
Clove Haviva: “The Physical Health Benefits of Religion: Can Atheists get them too?”
Tritsya Kelley: “Linking Beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) and Narwhal (Monodon monoceros) Feeding and Mating Ecology”
Mary Panditharatne: “Cleaner Greener Fuels from Waste”
Andrea Edel: Flaxseed: :A Modern Prescription for High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol”
Roniele Cordeiro: “How Non-spicy Mustard Controls Bacterial Pathogens in Ready-to-Eat Meat: an Inside-Out View”
Corrie Allan: “Exercising the Right to be Trans: Redesigning the North American Fitness Club to Reflect Non-Binary Bodies and Identities”

Emma Hauch: “Extracelluar Matrix Reloaded”


Heat 3

Dana Bernier: “Do Babies Always Know That Cars and Cows are Different?”
Melissa Rabb: “The Architecture of Ebola Virus”
Stephanie Caligiuri: “A new Therapy to Combat the Number 1 Global Silent Killer”
Jordyn Lerner: “The HIV/AIDS Patch”
Jie Wang: “The Heart is Under Attack from Cancer Therapy: Time to Strengthen our Defences”
Meaghan Rempel: “Exercise and Type 1 Diabetes: Is it Lethal?”
Markus Ziesmann: “Training for the Trauma Bay: Is “Done Enough” Still Good Enough?”
Riya Ganguly: “Trans Fats: Getting to the Heart of the Matter”
Chris Wiebe: “Finding a Better Match in Kidney Transplantation”

Jay Doering, vice-provost (graduate education) and dean of graduate studies, says, “Graduate students conduct research at the cutting edge of technology and the leading edge of knowledge. The dissemination of their work is a core goal of post-secondary education. Furthermore, communicating ideas effectively is a life skill valued in both career and personal life.”

The University of Manitoba includes 3MT® as part of an overall strategy to provide career building opportunities for graduate students, promote research at the University of Manitoba and also connect with the broader university and surrounding community.

Today’s graduate students at the University of Manitoba are the source of tomorrow’s innovation. They are explorers and trailblazers who bring ideas to life and propel our economy. The portable defibrillator mounted on walls in hockey areas across Canada was likely the research topic of a graduate student in a university laboratory. The breakthrough that can potentially prevent H1N1 will likely be first presented at a graduate research seminar in medical school.

University of Manitoba

A packed house at last year’s final event.

3MT is no cakewalk. It takes years for a thesis to be researched and finalized ― so boiling it all down to only three minutes to get the information across to a lay audience is quite a challenge. Challengers are evaluated by a panel of judges, with the audience voting for the People’s Choice winner at the Final Competition.

The emcee for the Final Competition will be Paul Samyn, editor, Winnipeg Free Press. Judges will be: The Honourable Theresa Oswald, Minister of Jobs and the Economy; Fiona Odlum, Breakfast Television; and Patricia Bovey, chair, University of Manitoba Board of Governors.

The top three winners from each heat will receive mini iPads, while the prizes for the Final Competition are: $5,000 for First Place, $2,000 for Second Place and $1,000 for People’s Choice.

Last year’s winner was Leah (Wong) Guenther in mechanical and manufacturing engineering, who impressed the judges and audience with her creative explanation of her master’s thesis on wear-testing of orthopaedic materials.


More winning presentations from 2013 can be viewed here.

For more information, please contact Jay Doering, graduate studies, at: 204-474-9887, email: jay_doering [at] umanitoba [dot] ca, or visit our 3MT® website at

Join the conversation on Twitter! Follow us at @umanitoba and tag your tweets with #3MT and #umanitoba

Research at the University of Manitoba is partially supported by funding from the Government of Canada Research Support Fund.

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One comment on “Three Minute Thesis shortlist announced

  1. John Kearsey

    Can’t wait until Feb 25… after the amazing presentation last year, this is one of the most anticipated events in my 2014 calendar, hands-down. Did I do that in less than 3 mins? Congrats to all the students and those who mentor them.

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