UQ PhD student wins 3MT with big bang ‘theory’


A PhD candidate working to understand early embryo development has won The University of Queensland’s 2022 Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition final.

UQ Faculty of Medicine student Yunan Ye convinced the judges with her presentation called The big bang – how it all started in front of an audience at Customs House in Brisbane.

She will now compete against more than 50 other PhD candidates from universities across Australia, New Zealand and Asia in the Asia-Pacific 3MT Competition next month.

Ms Ye said competing in 3MT took a lot of courage and practice to summarise in such a short time her work on explaining, predicting and correcting errors in early pregnancy.

“The process has rewarded me with confidence and perseverance and allowed me to see how exciting my research is without losing sight of the big picture,” she said.

Ms Ye plans to use the $5000 prize to attend an international conference to exchange research ideas face-to-face.

“Communication feels so much nicer in person,” she said.

3MT is a competition for doctoral students to present their research focus in just three minutes with only one PowerPoint slide.

UQ Graduate School Dean, Professor Helen Klaebe, said the competition was a valuable opportunity for PhD candidates to showcase their research within the university and connect to the wider community.

“Special congratulations to our overall winner Yunan Ye and to all 8 finalists, who were able to demonstrate the exciting, real-world impact of UQ’s research,” Professor Klaebe said.

“This event was especially significant this year in that it was a live event, something we haven’t had for the past two years.”

Drew Cylinder from the Queensland Brain Institute won the Runner Up Award with his presentation What worms can teach us about general anaesthesia.

The People’s Choice Award went to Summa Bibby from the Faculty of Science for her presentation Spot the Difference: Virus Edition.

The Asia-Pacific 3MT Competition final on Wednesday 19 October will be broadcast online.

Ms Ye has also been entered into the Universitas 21 3MT Competition, with winners to be announced on 10 October.

The UQ 3MT prizes were sponsored by UniSuper, Boeing Australia and Alumni Friends.

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