PhD candidates to pitch their thesis in 3MT contest

Published February 27, 2024

Ten UB PhD candidates will show off their research and communication skills on March 1 at the eighth annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition.

The contest will begin at 3 p.m. in the Screening Room in the Center for the Arts, North Campus. Members of the UB community can also watch a livestream of the contest.

The concept for 3MT is simple: Contestants have up to 3 minutes to present their dissertation research in an engaging way to a non-specialist audience using just one PowerPoint slide.

Contestants are judged based on their communication style, the audience’s comprehension of their research and engagement with the audience. 

Prizes are awarded for first place ($2,000), second place ($1,500) and third place ($1,000). Members of the audience can cast their vote to select the winner of the People’s Choice Award, who will receive $500.

The finalists who will be competing in this year's 3MT and the topics of their thesis research:

  • Sabrina Orsi, Pharmacology and Toxicology, "Fighting Cancer One SNACk at a Time: Integrating Science, Nutrition and Cancer Care." Orsi aims to improve outcomes for kidney cancer patients by investigating the potential of dietary interventions to modulate tumor metabolism.
  • Abhipsa Chakraborty, English, "Read it with the Ears: “Listening” to the 20th-century Anglophone Novel." Chakraborty's research shows that advancements in auditory technology influenced the way early 20th-century novels introduced elements of sound, which make them particularly appealing to be “read” by the ears as much as through vision.
  • Mindula Kaumadi Wijayahena, Chemistry, "Breaking Bad Bonds: Will PFAS-Munching Microbes Save Us?"
  • Nicole Capozziello, Social Work, PhD program, "Exploring East Side Residents’ Visions of Nature & Vacant Land: A Community-Based Case Study." Capozziello is exploring the perspectives of community members living in nature-deprived areas of Buffalo through a variety of qualitative and community-based methods including interviews, a walking tour and an arts-based design workshop activity.
  • Shiqi Zhou, Biomedical Engineering, "Personalized cancer vaccine development using 'Bubbles.'" Zhou’s research uses safe materials to create “bubbles” than can induce cancer-suppressing immune responses and eliminate cancer in mice.
  • Greg Congdon, Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, "Earthquake Rehabilitation: Shake it ‘Til You Save It." Congdon is studying current building code requirements for upgrading existing masonry buildings for earthquake safety.
  • Ameya Tandel, Chemical and Biological Engineering, "Turning Murky to Clear: Unveiling Pure Water with Membrane Magic!" Tandel is developing and engineering surface-modified graphene oxide- (GO) based filters or membranes for water purification to combat the amount of textile wastewater produced.
  • Alber Aqil, Biological Sciences, "Echoes from the Past." Aqil’s research aims to find out how long the Indigenous people of Southeast Alaska have lived there using DNA from a 3,000-year-old bone.
  • Jack Reeves, Neurology, "Brain on Fire: Imaging Smoldering Brain Inflammation in Multiple Sclerosis." Reeves’ research focuses on understanding the causes and consequences of smoldering inflammation, a type of brain inflammation that may drive disability accumulation in multiple sclerosis.
  • Sagarika Suresh, Management Science and Systems, "Transforming AI into Allies for Online Marginalized Healthcare Populations." Suresh’s research is focused on understanding the design and building of safe self-learning AI systems for marginalized health care populations.

The UB 3MT competition is co-hosted by the Graduate School and the Startup and Innovation Collaboratory (CoLab) powered by Blackstone LaunchPad.