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Life Sciences 3MT Competition 2020

3MT competition participants (from left to right): Heather Shipp, Diana Calvopina, Trevor Williams, Landon Deru, Ted Piorczynski, Heidi Niedfeldt, and Emily Krueger.

The 3MT (Three Minute Thesis) competition is a hallmark for graduate student research. Competition participants are given the challenge to present the main ideas of their thesis in three minutes with only one static slide to illustrate their research. Individual colleges hold competitions at the beginning of the winter semester to determine one winner who will advance to the university-wide competition in March.

On February 20, 2020, seven graduate students from the College of Life Sciences presented their research to an audience of faculty and fellow graduate students. Three students were recognized, with the first place winner advancing to the university-wide competition:

1st place: Landon Deru (ExSc), "Starving to Life”

Although going without food for an extended period of time is difficult, fasting may have many health benefits. Deru has tested the effects of a 36-hour fast, with and without exercise, on blood markers known as ketones. The goal of the project is to discover the time it takes to build these ketones in the body to the point where health benefits are manifested.

2nd place: Diana Calvopina (MMBio), "Making antimicrobials with molecular machines”

Studying the enzymatic machinery of an antimicrobial peptide, Calvopina is using the machinery to make new thaizolyl peptides not previously found in nature. These peptides have interesting biological processes such as antimicrobial activity.

People’s Choice: Heather Shipp (PWS), "Do mountain goats eat rare plants in the Tushar Mountains?”

Mountain goats were introduced to the Tushar Mountains in 1986. Since then, controversy has arisen regarding their effects on the alpine plant communities, especially five plant species that have been classified as high-priority for conservation. For this reason, Shipp has monitored plots of each plant species and assessed mountain goat habitat-use to gauge possible effects and outcomes.