Presenting research against the clock

On March 24, 20 graduate trainees from across campus took part in Western University’s 3MT (Three Minute Thesis) Finals — a competition that challenged participants to present their research in three minutes or less, using one static PowerPoint slide.

Ajay Rajaram, MSc Candidate, and Jessica Blom, MD/PhD Candidate, were two of the five trainees that represented Schulich Medicine & Dentistry in the Finals, and placed second and third respectively.

“I was really excited to have made it to Western’s 3MT Finals simply because it was another opportunity to share the research that my lab has been working on,” Rajaram said. He is currently working on research that will help develop an optical system to non-invasively measure oxygen metabolism in real time at a newborn child’s bedside — a technique to help monitor the risk of brain injuries.

Blom agreed the competition was a great opportunity to practice presenting her research, which involves improving angiogenesis to promote cardiac regeneration.

“I decided to enter the 3MT competition because I thought it would be a valuable experience in learning communications skills,” Blom said. “I think being able to communicate effectively to a lay audience is a critical component of a successful researcher’s skill set.” 

Blom also explained that preparing short talks for opportunities like the 3MT Competition is a way to help remind trainees that they are doing something important that could have a valuable impact on their field.

After moving outside of his comfort zone and taking part in the 3MT Finals, Rajaram encourages other trainees to enter the competition in the future. 

“I think the 3MT Competition is a great way for students to practice sharing their research and getting their ideas out into the world,” he said. “The process of writing the three-minute speech and figuring out how to explain your work in such a simple manner in a short time frame can help you understand your research topic that much more.” 

Congratulations to all five trainees that represented Schulich Medicine & Dentistry in the Top 20 Finals Competition. Click here to learn more about 3MT and how to get involved in the future.