University College Dublin Entry Wins U21 Three Minute Thesis® Competition 2021

Universitas 21 are pleased to announce that this year's winner of the highly competitive 3 Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition is Morgan Morris from University College Dublin, with his presentation ‘Lactose: A Cash Cow for Targeting Tumours’, which focuses on how lactose can be used to target cancer drugs to specific cells in the body and reduce side effects from systemic drugs.   

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The 3MT® competition, developed by the University of Queensland, requires students to explain their research to a non-specialist audience in 3 minutes, which enhances their academic, presentation and communication skills. The Universitas 21 competition offers the 3MT® winners from each of our 27 member universities to compete at a global scale and be crowned the network 3MT® champion.

On receiving his award, Morgan commented; “I am so thrilled to have won this year's Universitas 21 3MT® competition among so many outstanding finalists. 3MT® really challenged me to understand my research in a wider context and I hope that my presentation has managed to highlight just some of the incredible work being done in the Irish bioeconomy, as well as globally. Thank you again to U21 for arranging this incredible event and to all the team in University College Dublin and my research centre BiOrbic who have supported me throughout this process. I look forward to continuing our research and developing the next generation of targeted anti-cancer drugs for patients."

The People’s Choice Prize, attracting almost 10,000 votes from U21 members and the wider public, was awarded to Ramiro Alejandro Villarreal-Leal from Tecnológico de Monterrey, on the subject 'Biomimetic Vesicles: Nature-Inspired Solutions for an Aching Heart', which focuses on using biomimetic vesicles to manage heart damage and reduce mortality in myocardial infarctions.

This year’s Highly Commended prize was awarded to Sharmelee Selvaraji from the National University of Singapore with her presentation 'Remember me?', outlining how intermittent fasting can help improve brain function and reduce the abnormal gene expression that causes vascular dementia.

Professor Jonathan Morris from UNSW, Chair of the U21 Deans and Directors of Graduate Studies said, "The breadth and the quality of the research discussed was truly impressive. All of the participants displayed impressive presentations skills and engagement with the material." 

Andy Coxall, Chief Executive of Common Purpose and a member of the judging panel commented, “I was blown away by these amazing students from across the Universitas 21 network. They had an ability to take cutting edge ideas and break them down in a way that as a layperson you could totally understand, and get massively excited by, their ground-breaking work. All were committed to tackling the critical issues of the day, that will have a huge impact in the world, it was truly inspiring and humbling in equal measure.”

For further information about the U21 Three Minute Thesis competition, and to view the videos, please click on the link below. 

View the 3MT videos here