PhD student Gavrielle Untracht who is studying optical and biomedical engineering at UWA will be competing in the national finals of the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition in Queensland in October after winning the competition at The University of Western Australia.
The 3MT challenges students to explain their complex fields of study, and significance, in less than the time it takes to make a cup of coffee, and in a way that almost anyone can understand.
Ms Untracht competed against 26 other students to make the national finals, presenting an engaging and dynamic talk on her research into using tissue stiffness as a non-invasive means of detecting cancer.
In the talk Ms Untracht compared the human body to a construction site, with cancer being a vandal that would tear down infrastructure unless effectively treated.
Ms Untracht said she was delighted to win the competition and was looking forward to participating in the national finals.
“I think there’s an idea that science isn’t always accessible to the general public, but the ultimate goal of science is to make a difference in the world and make life better for people, so it’s very important for researchers to be able to communicate their work in ways that people can understand,” she said.
“I’m looking forward to a career in the biomedical imaging, because it’s very important to me that my research is going to be able to help people.”
Other topics at the event ranged from investigating how hungry carnivorous plants are, the brutal sexual behaviour of seed beetles, if our motivation for why we exercise influences our post exercise snacking behaviour and understanding bird pollination of red and green Kangaroo Paws.
PhD student Samuel Lymbery from the Centre for Evolutionary Biology won the Peoples’ Choice Award for his engaging talk on the sexual behaviour of seed beetles.
Mr Lymbery explained the male seed beetles’ penis is covered in spines which made for traumatic mating, however competition between male seed beetles gives the females a break from sexual activity, allowing less damage to occur and leading to more chance of producing healthy offspring.
The event was one of the highlights of UWA’s Research Week (4-8 September) which has seen more than 50 free events open to the public, bringing world-class research and science to the community’s doorstep.
Jess Reid (UWA Media and PR Advisor) (+61 8) 6488 6876