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Neuroscience student wins 3 Minute Thesis Competition

The brain is an incredible machine, and for Michael Von Guten ('24), it was the star of his entry to the 3 Minute Thesis competition. As a neuroscience graduate student, Von Guten studies the effects LSD could have in curing mental health issues, and how multiple drugs used at once can harm the brain.

White male wearing a collared button up shirt with a lab coat over top of it looks into a microscope.
VonGuten studies cells under the gaze of a microscope. His research focuses on how the brain is effected by drugs like LSD.
Photo by Nicholas Rex

Von Guten entered his research in the BYU’s 3 Minute Thesis Competition. “It was a really cool experience,” Von Guten says. “I had to take my 40-page [prospectus] and condense it down to three minutes.”

Von Guten took first place at the college level of the competition and third place at the university level.

“I love biology… I think the human body is just incredible,” Von Guten says. “The coolest part about the human body is the brain… just how complex it really is.” Von Guten’s journey started as an undergraduate at BYU –Idaho where he discovered a passion for neuroscience in his psychology classes. Though he has a couple years before finishing up his program, Von Guten already has plans to teach neuroscience at a university.

With several years of school ahead of him still, Von Guten’s wins are just the beginning. He advises future 3MT competitors to “get advice from everyone you can ... [and that] research can be just as powerful, or more powerful, with fewer words.”