Budding researchers recognised for bright ideas

14/Jul/2020     HealthMater GroupResearch

A group of 25 budding Mater researchers have been commended for their involvement in one of the country’s leading student initiatives, taking part in the University of Queensland’s 13th annual Three Minute Thesis competition.

The University of Queensland’s (UQ) Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition is considered a staple in the research community, combining students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills, by encouraging Higher Degree by Research (HDR) and Honours students to present their complex research proposals in just three minutes to a non-specialist audience.

This year’s competition saw the largest support of students to date from Mater Research with 18 HDR and 7 Honours students taking part presenting on a number of forward-thinking research initiatives.

Claiming the dual title of Honours Student 3MT Winner along with People’s Choice Awardee, leading the fierce competition was Mater Research and UQ student, Jemima Walker.

In her presentation, titled ‘Shining the Light on Preemie Fathers’ Experiences’, Jemima highlighted the need to research how a father’s experience of premature birth, whilst not the same as a mother’s, needs much consideration and support from modern maternal medicine.

“This is based on the simple fact that ‘dad’s need love too’ and that dads can feel overwhelmed with a lack of control, concern of their partner and their child’s health,” Ms Walker said.

“My research challenges the current spotlight on mothers and challenges it to shift direction to include dads.”

Accompanying Jemima was Chloe Yap who claimed the overall title of winner in the HRD 3MT competition category for her presentation ‘From molecules to the mind: autism biology from big data’.

“I work in autism where even though there is such a strong biological basis, we have no idea how we get from genetic pathways, to how we interact with each other,” Ms Yap said.

“How do we find these metaphorical needles in a multi-dimensional haystack? I want to understand how genetic markers relate to each other and contribute to autism.”

Ms Walker and Ms Yap will represent Mater Research in the upcoming virtual UQ Faculty of Medicine HDR Final.

Other students recognised for their work included HDR 3MT runner, Ben Austin for his presentation, ‘Born in the USA? The role of work engagement in the NICU’ and Selwin Samuel, awarded the HDR 3MT People’s Choice for his work, ‘Sow Germs... Grow Bones!!!’.

Honourable mentions for the HDR 3MT went to Grace Fitzallen, who received third place for ‘Traumatic, Life-Changing, Inspiring: A Parent’s Journey to Flourishing’, and Robin-Lee Troskie, who received fourth place for ‘The Walking Dead – Zombie Genes’.

This year’s competition saw more family and friends supporting students with the presentations streamed virtually to suit the current COVID-19 restrictions. Presentations are available for viewing below.

Pictured: Jemima Walker, Honours Student 3MT Winner and People’s Choice Awardee.

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