Mater researchers present three minute thesis

18/Jun/2019     Research

Mater Research held its annual 3-minute thesis (3MT) competition last week showcasing the work of Higher Degree Research students and honours students at Mater Research.

The 16 three minute presenations covered a wide range of research topics currently underway at Mater Research with each presenter allowed to show only one slide and to present for no longer than three minutes.

Research Higher Degree student Lena Battoon, was the first place winner for her presentation on osteal macrophages (osteomacs) which she has named ‘army engineers’.  Lena works in A/Prof Allison Pettit’s group and is investigating how to harness the power of osteal macrophages, which are immune cells that sit on our bones, to combat foreign invaders and clear unwanted substances from the body.  They also help fractures heal faster.  Lena’s research would be of particularly benefit to the elderly who are likely to have morbidity and mortality due to secondary complications associated with their fracture.

In second place was Jessica Turner for her project investigating sildenafil (Viagra) and its use in labour to reduce the risk of oxygen deprivation in babies during labour which can result in an admission to NCCU or the development of cerebral palsy.  Jessica is a clinical research fellow in Professor Sailesh Kumar’s group.  In a world first trial, 300 women were recruited and half were given sildenafil in the hours before giving birth. The other half were given a placebo.  The results demonstrated a 50 per cent reduction in emergency caesarian section due to fetal distress.

Both Lena and Jessica will proceed to the next level of the 3MT competition when they will represent Mater Research at the Faculty of Medicine/UQ final.  Winners from that competition have the opportunity to compete at University and National levels.

In the honours category, Olivia Taylor took out first place for her presentation of ‘small babies, big problems’, while second place and People’s Choice award went to Jessica Rodaughan for her research into maternal psychological stress and pre-term birth.

Mater Research CEO Professor Maher Gandhi said the topics reflected the richly diverse research that takes place at Mater Research every day.

“I congratulate all of our students on their excellent presentations and a special ‘well done’ to our winners,” Prof Gandhi said.


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