Published: 15 September 2010
Chilli cancer cure on the cards
Finding a cure for cancer is a hot topic, and Tina Wu is looking in an unlikely place for answers.
Ms Wu, an Australian citizen born in Taiwan, is a PhD student who recently won the Health Sciences Faculty final of the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, allowing her to compete in the UQ 3MT final on September 20.
Ms Wu's research has produced a positive model that looks into the over-expression of calcium channels in cancer, specifically breast cancer, and how these channels can be targeted using the active component of hot chilli.
Developed by UQ in 2008, the 3MT is a skills development activity that challenges research higher degree (RHD) students to explain their research project to a non-specialist audience in just three minutes.
I took part in 3MT this year because I was inspired by a previous runner up in the competition who worked in our lab and I saw how powerful 3MT was at improving public speaking skills and communicating research to a broad audience, Ms Wu said.
I think it's a great and fun experience that lets me focus on the key message of my research project; plus now I can tell my family and friends or anyone who is interested in my work what my PhD is about in three minutes.
Graduating with honours at the University of Sydney, Ms Wu chose UQ for its large science research community and the positive and progressive environment she discovered on visiting for an interview.
It was important for me to choose to do my PhD study in a lab that was supportive and friendly because science research is not a one-person job; it's all about collaboration and team work, she said.
Significant growth in the popularity of the Three Minute Thesis event has led UQ to host the inaugural Australia & New Zealand 3MT Competition in 2010 as part of its Centenary celebrations.
Ms Wu will compete with seven other UQ students in the UQ finals on September 20, with the winner representing the University in the inaugural Australia & New Zealand final on September 21.
Prizes at both events include a $5,000 travel grant for the winner, $2,000 travel grant for the runner-up and $1,000 travel grant for the people's choice award.
Members of the public are welcome to attend the finals, to be held in the UQ Centre Exhibition Hall at St Lucia from 3:30pm.
Master of Ceremonies is award-winning science writer, broadcaster and regular judge on ABC TV's The New Inventors, Ms Bernie Hobbs, by arrangement with Claxton Speakers International.
You can register attendance at the 3MT events by visiting www.uq.edu.au/grad-school/3MT.
Media: Jessica Gallagher (07 3346 0508, firstname.lastname@example.org) or Carly Dengate at the UQ Graduate School (07 3346 0509, email@example.com)
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