Parkinson’s researcher wins Three Minute Thesis competition

October 14 / 145

Bevan Main from the Department of Pharmacology has won this year’s Three Minute Thesis Competition Grand Final.

The Three Minute Thesis is an annual research communication competition that challenges PhD students to condense their research into three minutes, and present it in a compelling and engaging way to a lay audience. The competition began at the University of Queensland six years ago and has since taken the academic world by storm.

Mr Main’s PhD focuses on developing ways to slow down the progression of Parkinson’s disease by suppressing the immune response in the brain.

He said participating in the competition gave him the opportunity to reflect on his research and develop the skills to convey the importance of his work to the general public. 

“Sometimes in the competitive environment that is scientific research, we can develop a narrow focus and lose sight of how it benefits the community,” Mr Main said.

Judge Simon Clews, Director of the Writing Centre for Scholars and Researchers said that all four judges were impressed by the way Mr Main communicated so much information about what is obviously very complex research in such a clear and comprehensible fashion.

“He left us in no doubt as to the importance of what he is doing and, in the ultimate test of his communication skills, he really made us care about the outcomes,” Mr Clews said.

Mr Main won a $4,500 travel scholarship which he plans to use to attend a conference in the United States that focuses on neuroscience and central nervous system disorder.

“The prize will enable me to liaise with many of the top scientists in the field of neuroscience, will help in adding to the depth of my knowledge and increase the quality of my work, benefitting not just my development but also the community that supports my studies,” he said. 

Second place went to Ainka Granderson from the Faculty of Science. Ms Granderson gave an impassioned account of how local communities in Vanuatu are addressing the risks of climate change. 

Third place was tied and was awarded to Lawrence Lau from Surgery and Jared Horvath from Psychological Sciences. Mr Lau researches the importance of ‘test-driving’ donor livers prior to transplantation, and Mr Horvath’s research looks at electrical brain stimulation and whether it makes us smarter. 

The People's Choice Award went to Edith Holloway from Ophthalmology for her presentation on managing depression in those with vision loss through problem-solving therapies. 

Mr Main will next represent the University at the Universitas21 Virtual Competition in October followed by the Trans-Tasman Competition at UWA in November.

Visit the 3MT® website for more information. http://gradresearch.unimelb.edu.au/3MT/index.html

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