Winners of the 2022 3MT competition

image of students

Ten graduate students competed in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) final this Wednesday to find out who could best summarize and present years of research in only three minutes. Their research touched on topics such as lung cancer, human stem cells, sexual pain, honey bees and infant gut microbiomes.

The judges agreed that their research was impressive and that it took careful deliberation to declare the final results – four winners.

First place (and People’s Choice)

  • Emilie Carpentier, PhD in Physics, Liver cancer? No need to hold your breath for a cure! Supervisor: Dr. Tony Mestrovic

Emilie completed her undergraduate degree in physics, but says once she learned that physics could be applied to treating cancer, the field of medical physics felt like a fulfilling way to apply her skills. “I have really enjoyed my PhD and applying my physics background to health care by doing medical physics research,” says Emilie. “I’m really happy that my work has been useful and is improving radiation therapy treatments for liver cancer patients, and I hope I can continue to make positive contributions in this field over my career.”

Emilie’s 4D modelling technique as discussed in her presentation has already been applied in real-life scenarios. Organs in the body can move as much as 2 cm when the patient breaths, which is a huge amount for radiation targeting specific areas. The modelling technique she discussed is meant to improve cancer outcomes with better radiation targeting. “It is a really awesome feeling knowing that my 4D modelling has been applied in real life and is helping people,” says Emilie.

Emilie will be representing UBC at the 2022 Western Regional 3MT in Winnipeg on May 6. “It’s an honour to be a 3MT winner. This event really showcases some of the fascinating research happening at UBC. It was inspiring to be a part of that and to hear everyone else’s incredible talks, and I’m very grateful that I was chosen to be a winner.”

Second place

  • Mopelola Akinlaja, PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, A peek into the honey bee gut: Understanding Nosema infection in honey bees. Supervisor: Prof. Leonard Foster

Third Place (tie)

  • Icíar Fernández Boyano, PhD in Genome Science and Technology, Making sense of preeclampsia where it begins: in the placenta. Supervisor: Dr. Wendy Robinson
  • Nicolas Pereyra, MSc in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Modified platelet storage devices to improve quality during storage. Supervisor: Dr. Dana Devine

Our other finalists in order of appearance:

  • Simone Hagey, MSc in Astronomy, The deathspiral of hot Jupiters. Supervisor: Dr. Aaron Boley
  • Amanda Cheung, PhD in Neuroscience, Monitoring oxygen levels in the injured spinal cord. Supervisors: Dr. Brian Kwon & Dr. Babak Shadgan
  • Nisha Marshall, MSc in Reproductive and Developmental Sciences, Evaluating female sexual pain. Supervisors: Dr. Paul Yong & Dr. Caroline Pukall
  • Miguel Prieto, MSc in Experimental Medicine, Nontuberculous mycobacteria in people living with cystic fibrosis. Supervisor: Dr. Bradley Quon
  • Zahra Pakzad, PhD in Microbiology and Immunology, How breast milk influences the infant gut microbiome. Supervisor: Dr. Deborah Money
  • Vivian Zhang, MASc in Biomedical Engineering, Engineering the Stem Cell battle arena. Supervisor: Dr. Nika Shakiba

Thank you to our participants, judges, hosts and organizers

3MT depends on volunteer organizers, hosts, judges, presenters, and volunteers from many UBC faculties, departments and units. This year, 116 graduate students took part in 13 different preliminary virtual 3MT heats organized by various faculties and departments. Twenty-six graduate students progressed to the virtual semi-final competitions, with only ten moving on to the final event. Thank you to everyone who presented, judged, organized or volunteered at a 3MT event. 3MT would not be possible without the dedication and hard work of so many volunteers.

The 2022 judging panel for the final included:

  • Murali Chandrashekaran, PhD, Vice-Provost, International​
  • Julian Dierkes, PhD, Associate Dean, Funding, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and Associate Professor, School of Public Policy and Global Affairs​
  • Sarah Grasedieck, PhD, Postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Hirst Epigenomics Lab, MSFHR Research Trainee, Michael Smith Laboratories​
  • Tara Lee, PhD, Lecturer, School of Journalism, Writing, & Media, Faculty of Art

The final was hosted by Tamara Baluja​, an adjunct professor, at UBC’s School of Journalism, Writing, and Media, and First Person Producer at CBC.

The videos from the semi-finals and final events are available on our YouTube channel.