Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Explaining the medical complexities of lung transplants within three minutes has won a student from The University of Western Australia a national award.

Balarka Banerjee, a School of Paediatrics and Child Health PhD student at UWA, yesterday won the Trans-Tasman Three Minute Thesis challenge.

He beat 33 other students from Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, who competed to deliver the most compelling, comprehensive and easy to understand presentation of their thesis.

Mr Banerjee, of Parkwood, was one of 10 finalists in the challenge, held at the University of Queensland and his topic was "Lung transplants - making the second chance count".

Balarka's presentation ‘Lung Transplants - making the second chance count' held the judges attention as he explained his work to combat chronic rejection.

"Imagine waking up every morning knowing you are about to die... and then you get a second chance," was Balarka's opening statement.

"More than 3000 people receive lung transplants every year and although researchers have successfully minimised acute rejection related mortality, there is still no cure for chronic rejection," Mr Bannerjee said.

"It causes gradual destruction of the airways leading to lung failure and 80 per cent of post-transplant deaths.  This project investigates the causes and mechanisms behind chronic rejection.

The Three Minute Thesis competition is open to Masters and Doctoral students and is judged on three criteria:

  • Communication style:  was the thesis topic and its significance communicated in language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience
  • Comprehension:  did the presentation help the audience understand the research
  • Engagement:  did the oration make the audience want to know more.

Balarka defeated finalists from Queensland University of Technology, Australian National University, Griffith University, University of Waikato, University of Sydney, University of Newcastle, University Technology Sydney, University of Otago and University of NSW.

With this win, UWA has won the right to host the Trans-Tasman Three Minute Thesis challenge in 2011.

Media references

Balarka Banerjee  (+61 4) 09 115 798
Janine MacDonald (UWA Public Affairs)  (+61 8)  6488 5563  /  (+61 4) 32 637 716


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