Vision science graduate student Gah-Jone Won wins the 2016 Ontario 3 Minute Thesis Competition

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Gah-Jone Won, a PhD candidate at the University of Waterloo, School of Optometry and Vision Science and Biology, was selected as the winner of the Ontario Provincial Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competitionGah-Jone Won, a PhD candidate at the University of Waterloo, School of Optometry and Vision Science and Biology, was selected as the winner of the Ontario Provincial Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, which was hosted by Wilfrid Laurier University today.

The 3MT competition challenges graduate students to articulate the breadth and significance of their research to a non-specialist audience in 3 minutes, using only 1 static slide. Twenty universities from across Ontario participated in the competition, each sending their top finalist forward to the provincial final.

The event kicked off with a welcome from Max Blouw, president and vice-chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University and Catherine Fife, Member of Provincial Parliament for Kitchener Waterloo.

Through this competition you have the unique opportunity to take your complex research and use it to inform others about the world we live in," says Fife. "Each of you is making an impact in your field and through inter-university competitions like 3MT Ontario, you are helping others to learn about the potential positive impacts of your area of study."

Gah-Jone Won is a doctoral student in the School of Optometry and Vision Science under the supervision of Dr. Vivian Choh

Won advanced to the provincial 3MT final after competing against 200 Waterloo graduate student at the University level and winning the Faculty of Science heat.

His research focuses on the crystalline lens, a structure within the eye that changes shape in order to allow our eyes to focus on nearby objects. As the eye ages, the crystalline lens becomes stiffer and loses its ability to focus on nearby objects, a condition called presbyopia. 

Won's project involves the development of a pharmaceutical treatment for presbyopia, which acts by specifically targeting and softening the crystalline lens in order to restore nearby vision.

Upon completion of his PhD, Gah-Jone plans to undertake a postdoctoral fellowship and continue his research career as an academic.

Next, he will compete for the national 3MT prize this spring.

The judges for the event were:

Susan Anzolin, CFO Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

  • Gohar Ashoughian University Librarian at Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Rob Baker, Guitarist for the Tragically Hip
  • David Meyers, CEO at Iceberg Vodka
  • Ken Steele, Chief Futurist at Eduvation

Congratulations Gah-Jone Won and good luck at the national competition!

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