Agriculture at Otago 3 Minute Thesis Competition

AbacusBio hosts 3 Minute Thesis Competition

A showdown Thursday at AbacusBio, the 3 Minute Thesis Competition challenged 12 University of Otago graduate students to describe their research and its significance in just 180 seconds.

The competition was held as part of the Ag@Otago research theme initiative at the University of Otago, which aims to encourage innovative young scientists in the agricultural industry.

Emeritus Professor Frank Griffin, the director of Ag@Otago said there is an ever-increasing need for graduates to boost agricultural and food production, which forms the biggest industry in New Zealand.

The competition plays an important part in preparing students for a successful career, by cultivating their academic, presentation, and research communication skills.

A wide array of topics were covered, ranging from genetic improvement in bees, to regulation of vitamin C levels in plants, and advanced DNA analysis.

“This year’s 3MT contestants presented really interesting solutions to some very significant issues that the world’s agricultural industry faces today,” AbacusBio managing director Anna Campbell said.

"They demonstrate such strong passion for what they do, and their enthusiasm is contagious."  

Michael Collins took away the Premier Award for his project on epigenetic reprogramming in chickens.

Matthew Chisnall brought home the Innovative Science Award for his project on the regulation of vitamin C levels in plants, while Natalie Howes won the Innovative Technology Award for her project on the effect of lamb diet on meat fatty acid profiles.

Below is a list of the other competitors and their projects:

Gertje Petersen

Genetic improvement in honeybees

George Poulter

Advanced DNA analysis – in the field

Jiffinvir Singh Khosa

How do onions know when to bulb?

Kate Ryder

Novel biomaterials from a dairy co-product

Prashanth Nagesh

Regulating the regulator: A molecular interplay between host histone deacetylase 1 and Influenza virus

Rachel Kaminsky

Soil pH, land use and soil classification account for changes in prokaryotic communities across a range of geographically distant soils

Annesha Makhal

Food waste related to 'ugly'/misshapen produce

Mi Tang

Plants can fight for themselves

Tingting Liu (Lily)

Improving the quality of plants using new technology called Pulsed Electric Field


Photo credits to Raelene Abernethy, Department of Biochemistry, University of Otago