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Biology competes in Science's 3MT heat

Monday, February 20, 2017

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The annual Faculty of Science Three Minute Thesis heat returned this week.  More than twenty graduate students from all six units gathered to compete and describe their research in less than three minutes, using only one slide.

The Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, Rob Hill, kicked off the competition and hosted the event.

“I wish all faculty and students could attend to see what magnificent work our students do,” said Hill. “Hearing these presentations makes me proud to be part of the Faculty of Science at this University”.

Two out of the 21 master’s and doctoral students who competed were from the Department of Biology. Cheryl Soulliere, a master’s student from the Dixon Research Group, and Jackson Tsuji from the Neufeld Research Group. Souillere’s passion for aquaculture shined through as she discussed the development of vaccines to eliminate disease in mass food fish production. Souillere went on to University finals in 2015.

Tsuji, who fast-tracked into the doctoral program, discussed how he is using Boreal Shield lakes to study the ancient Archean ocean. He’s collecting water samples from the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) Experimental Lakes Area.

It was a challenging heat this year as all the students gave exceptional presentations. Nyasha Gondora, a doctoral student from the School of Pharmacy won $150 and the competition for her presentation on the long-term effects of childhood stress on mental health and brain physiology in adults. Emmanuel Alabi, a doctoral student from the School of Optometry and Vision Science was the runner-up. He’s developing an objective method to quantify pain.

The judging panel consisted of Professors Heidi Engelhardt, Marianna Foldvari, John Johnston, Barb Katzenback, Kevin Resch and Chris Yakymchuk as well as Outreach Manager Heather Neufeld. The panel assessed the students on their communication style, comprehension and engagement.

The University of Waterloo will be hosting both the University and Provincial finals. Last year, Science’s Gah-Jone Won, a doctoral student from the School of Optometry and Vision Science, won the national competition.

Let’s continue the winning streak and cheer on your Science candidates Nyasha and Emmanuel at the University competition on March 23rd.

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