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PhD student wins Swansea University 3MT competition final

A Swansea University PhD student has won the Swansea University Three Minute Thesis (3MT) final.

Manuela Pacciarini, who is studying a PhD in Medical and Health Care Studies, fought off competition from 23 other postgraduate research students across seven colleges.

In her talk, Manuela spoke about lipid biomarker discovery in neurodegenerative diseases and research into the possibility of developing a blood test that could diagnose Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.

Established by the University of Queensland in 2008, 3MT is an international competition held at over 200 universities worldwide. It is open to PhD students, and challenges participants to present their research in just three minutes, in the form of a single static PowerPoint slide that can be understood by an audience, who although intelligent, have no background in the research area.

Swansea University is one of around 70 UK-based institutions that now form part of a global network, encouraging postgraduate research students to promote their research and enthusiasm for their chosen topic to reach non-specialist audiences. 3MT is designed to showcase to a variety of audiences the excellent quality and diversity of research being undertaken by postgraduate research students at Swansea University, and its relevancy and impact upon the world in which we live.

Speaking about her success in the competition so far, Manuela said: “I decided to undertake the 3MT competition to challenge my communication skills and, honestly, I couldn't have made a better decision.

“Such an experience has been the perfect stage to try to explain how body fats affect the development of neurodegenerative diseases, the loss of brain cells, and why I am looking for differences in fat content between healthy people and neurodegenerative patients’ blood and cerebrospinal fluid.”

Professor Nuria Lorenzo-Dus, Dean of Postgraduate Research at Swansea University added: “Swansea University proudly runs an annual 3MT event to allow our postgraduate researchers to showcase the amazing variety and innovation of their work. As future research leaders, all participants stand ready to overcome whatever challenges come their way – and this year for 3MT it was an enforced virtual rather than live final performance.

“From a number of exceptional presentations, I'm delighted that Manuela Pacciarini won this year's competition for her lucid and passionate three-minute exposition of her research into Lipid Biomarker Discovery in Neurodegenerative Diseases.”

Manuela will now progress to the 3MT UK quarter finals in July and will be in with the chance of presenting in the 3MT UK online Final in September, hosted by Vitae the global leader in researcher development.

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