ANU wins silver at 3MT Asia Pacific

11 October 2019

ANU PhD student Lithin Louis has taken second place at the 2019 Asia-Pacific 3MT final in Queensland for his presentation Mysteries of a Beating Heart.

Lithin competed against 56 finalists from across Australia, New Zealand, Oceania, North-East Asia and South-East Asia, impressing the judges with his short presentation that covered how he has been researching cellular-level interactions that cause hearts to beat.

The 3MT, or Three Minute Thesis, is a program that trains postgraduate students to break down the complexities of their research into simplistic language that allows anyone to understand what it is they research and why.

Over the past few months, Lithin and the other participants in the ANU competition - held in early September - worked intensively with the University's Research Services Division, under the guidance of 'Thesis Whisperer', Associate Professor Inger Mewburn to fine-tune their presentation skills.

Speaking after the event, Lithin says he was "blissed out" to win runner up.

"To represent ANU on an international platform and bring back the silver was a proud and an incredible experience," Lithin says.

"I was a bit nervous at times but having Dr Cally Guerin from ANU Research Training there with me was very helpful. 

"It was also great getting to know many of the other contestants and their research. Some of their experience and stories are incredibly motivating."

Lithin says he was well prepared and enjoyed every bit of it despite the nerves.

"It's not every day you get to talk about your research to an international gathering," he says.

Lithin, who has been studying his PhD through the ANU John Curtin School of Medical Research, walked away with the runner up trophy and $2,000 cash, but says the most valuable part was the experience and opportunities that 3MT has offered.

"I'm quite excited to pursue the opportunities that 3MT has brought me, moving forward."

For now, though, Lithin will return to the lab to reunite with his beating heart cells so he can focus on finishing his PhD.

The 3MT outcome means the University's tally now sits at one gold and two silvers over the past six years of the 3MT competition.

If you'd like to participate in the 2020 ANU 3MT competition, where you could go on to compete in the Asia-Pacific championship, visit the 3MT tab on the training page on the University's Services website.