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3MT (Three Minute Thesis) Innaugural Spring 2016 Competition

This year's inaugural competition showcased the research of 11 Graduate Students from diverse disciplines who were chosen from many competitive submissions during a virtual heat. The virtual heat allowed students to submit a video of their presentation along with an abstract for judging. Of the 11 chosen, 10 impressive presentations were given in the Marshall Center Ballroom, preceeding the 8th Annual Graduate Student Research Symposium. The event was hosted by Assistant Graduate Dean, Ruth Huntley Bahr. A panel of faculty judges scored the participants to select our recipients, and drew a packed house audience who selected our People's Choice Award recipient. We were so impressed with the quality of all of our presenters, who were able to succinctly and effectively present their Dissertation or Thesis research in under three minutes!

Award Recipients

$300 Winner: Simon Bello

Title: Development of an Implantable Pressure Regulating Pump for Glaucoma Studies
College: College of Engineering
Program: Electrical Engineering
Major Professor: Christopher Passaglia, Ph.D.
Abstract: Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in the world, affecting over 60 million people. Extensive research has demonstrated that increased intraocular pressure (IOP) results in a progressive loss of ganglion cells which is subsequently expressed as a loss of vision. The exact relationship between the chronic dynamics of IOP and the damage experienced by the eye is still unknown and is the central focus of glaucoma research studies across the world. Over the years, scientists have developed several animal models that intend to experimentally induce chronic ocular hypertension. Such techniques, however, tend to be time consuming, present a low success rate, and offer no control over the dynamics of IOP. All of these issues severely limit our ability to study the pathophysiology of glaucoma. Moreover, current technology to monitor IOP is also a limiting factor. Tonometry, the most commonly used technique to measure IOP, yields insufficient data and requires an operator at all times.

This project presents a one-of-a-kind implantable device that is capable of continuously measuring and regulating pressure, doing so with high accuracy, near-zero failure rate and virtually unlimited operational lifetime. This system gives researchers the unique ability to manipulate pressure in a precise and controlled manner and evaluate the resulting effects in ganglion cell populations. Such abilities arm researches with an extremely powerful tool that has the potential to create, for the first time, a comprehensive embodiment of the relationship between pressure and glaucoma development and progression.

$150 Runner-up: Elan Pavlinich

Title: Counterfeit Feminism in Disney’s Maleficent
College: College of Arts & Sciences
Program: English
Major Professor: Nicola Discenza, Ph.D.
Abstract:I argue that Disney’s Maleficent suggest the potential for a feminist reading, but in fact the social roles depicted within the film promote a gender binary that maintains the patriarchal social order. This is deeply rooted in the Disney heritage. For this reason, audiences need to be conscious of the polyvalent nature of visual rhetoric. Humanities education is the first step towards becoming critical of the power structures that are enforced by our assumptions and popular media; we can make real social progress towards equality by learning to read these structures critically.

$50 People's Choice: Parveen Bazard

Title: Plasmonic Stimulation of Electrically Excitable Biological Cells
College: College of Engineering
Program: Chemical Engineering
Major Professor: Robert Frisina, Ph.D.
Abstract: Electrical stimulation is used for artificial neural and cardiac stimulation; hence, applied in most neural prosthesis devices like cochlear implants, retinal implants, cardiac pacemakers etc. The electrical fields small spread significantly, which leads to non-specific stimulation. The present-work explores an alternative stimulation methodology using the principles of surface plasmonic phenomena, which involve collective light-excited oscillations of conduction-band electrons in metal nanoparticles. More specifically, we stimulated SH-SY5Y neurons & neonatal cardiomyocytes using gold nanoparticles and a 532 nm green laser. The initial findings move us a step closer to a more specific, localized stimulation system for different sensorimotor systems of the body.

Example of a 3MT Presentation

Ariane Anderson | Transcript