In 2010 the University of Newcastle introduced the ‘Three Minute Thesis’ competition for research higher degree candidates. Originally introduced in 2008 by the University of Queensland, the competition expanded to a national level in 2010, with 33 universities representing over 50,000 PhD and Masters students in Australia and New Zealand competing.
The University of Newcastle Three minute thesis final was held on 4 August with 17 competitors across all faculties taking part. The judging panel consisted of Ms Deb Wright (CEO - NBN Television), Professor Trevor Waring, and Professor Mike Calford.
The winners of the University of Newcastle final were:
1st place – Gabrielle Briggs - PhD (Medical Biochemistry)
2nd place – Michael Netherton - PhD (Civil Surveying and Environmental Engineering)
3rd place – Sarita Koushik - PhD (Speech Pathology)
Gabrielle Briggs, second year PhD (Medical Biochemistry) candidate, took out the University of Newcastle title from an impressive field, with her presentation “Regulation of Tyrosine Hydroxylase”. Gabrielle competed in the Inaugural Australia and New Zealand Competition on 21 September 2010 and achieved 2nd place and took home $2000 to go towards her research on Parkinson’s Disease. Well done and congratulations!
A summary of Gabrielle’s project is as follows:
“Parkinson's disease involves the mysterious death of a group of neurons, leading to the characteristic symptoms of tremors and rigidity. Until the cause of this disease is discovered, a cure cannot be found. My PhD involves trying to find out why these cells die. Specifically, my research aims to prove a theory that the neurotransmitter, dopamine, made in these cells, is toxic when it breaks down.”