LAWRENCE – The Three Minute Thesis Competition is a global research communication event with a compelling challenge: How well can graduate students convey the scope of their research to a general audience in three minutes or less? After weeks of presentations featuring cutting-edge research, two University of Kansas graduate students rose to the top with the conclusion of the competition Nov. 19.
Jacob Immel, doctoral student in medicinal chemistry, won first place and $500 for his presentation, “Building Peptide Drugs with Unnatural Amino Acids.” Ayotunde Ikujuni, doctoral student in biochemistry and biophysics, earned second place ($250) as well as the People’s Choice Award ($150) for his presentation, “Shunt the Tunnels, Shut-in the Drugs.” As the top finalist, Immel will represent KU at the regional Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools 3MT Competition April 6-8, 2022, in Milwaukee, with associated expenses paid for by the Office of Graduate Studies.
Both graduate students will also receive a professional head-and-shoulder portrait session, a research spotlight on the Office of Graduate Studies social media and an additional prize bag of books and goods from the Office of Graduate Studies.
Twenty graduate students participated in KU’s 2021 3MT event, with seven advancing to the competition finals and two bringing home awards. Each student had to condense their complex research into a polished three-minute video presentation using only one PowerPoint slide as a visual aid.
2021 marks the fourth year that KU has hosted a 3MT competition. The event was sponsored by the Office of Graduate Studies.
The 3MT academic research communication competition was developed by the University of Queensland in Australia and was first held in 2008. 3MT competitions have been held at more than 900 universities and more than 80 countries worldwide. Some judges for the competitions are not from scientific or research backgrounds, and scoring, in part, reflects the judges’ views on how well the presenter explained their work to those unfamiliar with the discipline. All video presentations from the 2021 KU 3MT competition are available online.