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PhD students share knowledge, hone communication skills in 3MT

Concept of a speaker sharing an idea with a panel of people.

The annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition is back in person for the first time since 2019.


Published February 17, 2023

“They are excited about sharing their research and want to be able to do it in a way that allows the non-expert to understand the research and why it matters. ”
Elizabeth A. Colucci, assistant dean for graduate professional development
Graduate School

One slide. Three minutes. Explain your research.

That’s what 10 PhD students will be doing on March 3 in the final round of the seventh annual 3MT — Three Minute Thesis — competition.

The event will take place at 3 p.m. in the Center for the Arts Screening Room. A livestream will also be available.

“This year we had a record number of doctoral students compete in the preliminary round of the competition, including some fully remote doctoral students,” says Elizabeth A. Colucci, assistant dean for graduate professional development in the Graduate School. “They were well prepared and made the selection of the 10 finalists challenging.

“This shows the desire of doctoral students to engage in meaningful professional development,” Colucci adds. “They are excited about sharing their research and want to be able to do it in a way that allows the non-expert to understand the research and why it matters.

“One slide. Three minutes. Explain your thesis.”

The idea behind 3MT is simple: Participants, who are current UB PhD students doing their dissertation research, have up to three minutes to explain, or pitch, their research using only one PowerPoint slide. The goal is to present their ideas to the public in an engaging, easy-to-understand way.

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

The winning contestant receives $2,000, while the second- and third-place participants receive $1,500 and $1,000, respectively. During the competition, viewers, using a smart device, are able to cast their vote for the People’s Choice Award. The winner of this award will receive $500.

Colucci notes that the competition’s sponsor, UB’s Business & Entrepreneur Partnerships, doubled the prize money for this year’s contest, which will be held in person for the first time since 2019.

The participants of the 2023 3MT competition are:

Md. Arafat Ali.

Md. Arafat Ali, “Fighting the Forever Chemical,” Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering. Research focuses on developing a graphene metal-based nanomaterial for the efficient and sustainable degradation of PFAS (per and polyfluoroalkyl substance), one of the emerging contaminants of our time.

Sandipa Bhattacharjee.

Sandipa Bhattacharjee, “Harbinger of a New Era? Evaluating India’s Right to Education Act on Women’s Family Planning Decisions,” Department of Economics. Research focuses on an education policy in India to examine the effect of education on women’s family planning decisions.

Clayton Brady.

Clayton Brady, “The Physiology of Acid-Base Balance,” Department of Physiology and Biophysics. Research focuses on an acid-base transporter called NBCe1-B and how our body maintains pH balance and the influence these mechanisms have on our health.

Haley Chizuk.

Haley Chizuk, “Using Benchwork to Get Off the Bench: Assessing Salivary Biomarkers During Concussion Recovery,” Department of Rehabilitation Science. Research focuses on assessing specific salivary proteins and RNA in concussed athletes to improve clinical decision-making and help athletes return to sport safely.

Moza Coote.

Moza Coote, “Exploring the Mentored Experiences of Novice Black Women Teachers,” Department Learning and Instruction. Research focuses on understanding the mentored experiences of novice Black women teachers to learn how we can support more effective induction and development experiences for them to improve retention.

Josie Diebold.

Josie Diebold, “Exploring Shared Stake Among White Antiracists,” School of Social Work. Research focuses on white antiracist organizers’ understandings of a vital organizing tool and value-shared interest.

Fae Hajhosseini.

Fae Hajhosseini, “Dialogue Between Iranian Philosophy and Recent Continental Philosophy: Secret,” Department of Comparative Literature. Research focuses on the comparative study of Western philosophy and Iranian philosophy based on the concept of the secret.

Min Ma.

Min Ma, “Mapping of All the Proteins at Once — A Novel Technique,” Department of Molecular and Cellular Biophysics and Biochemistry (Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center). Research focuses on developing a new method to map the location of all kinds of proteins and facilitate a better understanding of the uneven distribution of proteins in a whole tissue area and how the variability in distribution contributes to different kinds of diseases and treatments.

Leo Marecki.

Leo Marecki, “Add PET to Any MRI,” Department of Biomedical Engineering. Research focuses on designing a retrofitted preclinical device to integrate a PET scanner to an existing MRI for simultaneous data acquisition.

Mruganka Parasnis.

Mruganka Parasnis, “Mending Environment Using Mycelium-Based Biomaterials,” Department of Materials Design and Innovation. Research focuses on the deployment of dry mycelium membranes with controlled microstructure to act as promising alternative biomaterial for enhanced lead remediation from soil and water.