The Faculty of Science continues its winning streak at the University Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition yesterday. Emmanuel Alabi, a doctoral candidate from the School of Optometry and Vision Science, not only took home $1,000 for winning the University level competition but also captivated many hearts to earn the People’s Choice award.
“I would like to thank my supervisor Dr. Trefford Simpson for his continued guidance and mentorship. My passion for researching into pain and autonomic responses continues to grow because of his unconditional support. I am ever so proud to be a part of Science,” said Alabi.
Under the supervision of Dr. Trefford Simpson, Alabi’s research focuses on developing a method to quantify pain. As a trained optometrist, Alabi noticed there was no objective technique to measure the level of pain for those who are unable to directly communicate, such as infants. Recognizing this, he is working on a method to analyze an individual’s blood pressure and pupil dilation to predict their tolerance. This new method will help increase comfort during certain medical procedures.
This year, a total of 230 graduate students competed in faculty-based heats and then the top 15 qualified to compete in yesterday’s University-wide presentations. School of Pharmacy doctoral candidate Nyasha Gondora also competed in the University finals. Under the supervision of Profs. Mike Beazely and John Mielke, she is examining the impact of early life chronic stress on the brain.
The competition was fierce with many strong candidates from each faculty. Philosophy doctoral candidate, Andria Bianchi, took the title of runner-up.
“Wow, what a fabulous 3MT competition and advert for Waterloo graduate studies. Every one of the competitors deserves a big round of applause,” said Rob Hill, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies in the Faculty of Science. “We probably say it every year but the standard does seem to get better. Special congratulations to Emmanuel for keeping the University title in the Faculty of Science. Bring on the Provincial finals!”
The judging panel consisted of Mandy Brouse, co-owner of Words Worth Books, Adrien Côté, Business Advisor at Velocity Science, Mohit Muthanna, Principal Engineer of the Site Reliability Engineering Group at Google, Craig Norris, CBC Radio host, and Milaina Wright, Tournament Director for the Manulife Ladies Professional Golf Association Classic.
“I participated in the 3MT to share the research our lab does with the rest of the world, to let everyone know that science is not some abstract thing locked up in a high classified laboratory, but rather part and parcel of our everyday lives from birth through adulthood,” said Alabi.
Last year, Gah-Jone Won, a doctoral candidate in the School of Optometry and Vision Science, won the National 3MT Finals. Science is looking forward to the potential of a having second champion especially since the University of Waterloo will be hosting the Provincial competition.
“The pressure is on for a Waterloo repeat,” said Jeff Casello, Associate Provost of Graduate Studies.
The Three Minute Thesis was first established in 2008 by the University of Queensland and is now a staple across many international universities. It challenges graduate students to describe their research within three minutes to a public audience, using just one visual slide. It gives them the opportunity to build their presentation and communications skills.