A PhD student who developed a new solution to antibiotic resistance has taken top prize at the 2017 Victoria University of Wellington Three Minute Thesis Competition.

Biological Sciences student Jennifer Soundy has created a new therapeutic called aptabiotics, which use silver nanoclusters to fight resistant bacteria. Her presentation outlined how these can be used alone, as well as in conjunction with traditional antibiotics to fight disease.

Jennifer, who received a prize of $3,000, will represent Victoria at the 2017 Asia-Pacific 3MT Competition at the University of Queensland next month.

“It’s really exciting that someone from the Sciences has won, because science communication is such an important part of getting science research out there. We want the public to understand science and not be afraid of it,” says Jennifer.

The Three Minute Thesis competition challenges postgraduate students to effectively communicate their research in three minutes, with the assistance of one presentation slide. There are a range of prizes on offer for PhD, Master’s and Honours students.

Second place went to Va’aomanū Pasifika PhD student Jess Marinaccio, who won $1,000 for her presentation on how our understanding of international relations can be broadened by bringing in the people, places and events that are often overlooked.

Psychology PhD student Emma Tennent won third place and $500 for her presentation on how conversation analysis can be used to improve services for those seeking help on victim support hotlines.

Lindsey Pointer, a PhD student in the School of Government, won the International Prize and $250 for her presentation on why restorative justice is so effective. Lindsey was the 2016 winner of the Three Minute Thesis competition.

Alexandra Birchfield, an Honours student in the School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, won the $250 Honours prize for her presentation on how Shakespeare uses linguistic variation as a marker of gender.

The People’s Choice Award was won by Daniel Kleinsman, who is studying a Master of Laws. Daniel used his experience visiting a prison in the Philippines to demonstrate the failings of international human rights law, and how restorative justice can be used to overcome these failings.

This year, Victoria is hosting the Inter-University Three Minute Thesis Competition, where top Master’s students from around New Zealand will compete for the title of national Master’s champion. As the highest-ranking Master’s student, Daniel will represent Victoria at the competition.

The event will be held in the Student Union Building this Thursday from 5.30pm. Registration for the free, public event is open now.

The Three Minute Thesis Competition is organised by Victoria’s Postgraduate Students’ Association.


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