Science, tech story-telling sees CQU students take top spots in research pitch comps

13 September 2022

CQUniversity PhD students using tech interventions to classify driver sleep history' and putting rat DNA under the microscope to improve human recovery from cellular damage' have wowed the judges in CQU's latest research communication competitions.

The annual CQU rounds for international competitions 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) and Visualise Your Thesis (VYT) attracted 18 entries from across CQUniversity's passionate research higher degree cohort.

Georgia Tuckwell' from the School of Health' Medical and Applied Sciences' won the 60-second VYT challenge with her video presentation A deep learning approach to sleep history classification during the task of driving.

The Adelaide-based researcher works with CQU's Appleton Institute' a multidisciplinary research initiative driving health and well-being at work' rest and play.

Her animated entry outlined the risk of driving when fatigued' and showed how sleep history detection' through accelerometer measurements and deep learning' could be used to improve road safety.

Presenting to camera for the 3MT' Holly Hosking from the School of Health' Medical and Applied Sciences was the top performer with her entry DNA Damage Repair is Rat-ical.

The Rockhampton researcher' who began her science trajectory while still at high school through CQUniversity's Start Uni Now program' won the 3MT competition after reaching the international round of VYT in 2021.

"I'm particularly interested in studying how your DNA-repair response changes as you age'" she explains in the video.

"I collected blood from rats… and then put chemicals in the blood cells to put breaks in both strands of the DNA' simulating exposure to radiation from x-rays' for example.

"I found that male and female' in both rats and humans' showed different DNA-repair responses' and ageing actually lowered the amount of DNA damage that occurred after we induced double-strand breaks.

"This shows promise for using rats as a model of how the DNA-repair response changes as we age."

Public voting across both competitions saw Physiotherapy researcher and academic Sasha Job win both people's choice awards' for her presentations Tides of Change' and research into promoting beach access for people with disabilities.

Ronald Addo-Quaye from the School of Business and Law received a special commendation from judges for his entry Africa is doing it differently' looking at fintech disruption and innovation.

School of Graduate Research Dean' Professor Susan Kinnear' said the big cohort of entrants fielded an impressive body of work.

"All the contestants did a great job of crafting the best way to tell their research story' as well as summoning up the courage to deliver their piece to camera'" she said.

"Congratulations to everyone who submitted an entry and of course' special congratulations to our prizewinners for 2022.

"Our best wishes now go to Holly' who will compete in the Asia-Pacific 3MT Semi-Final on Monday 26 September' and to Georgia' whose video will be made available online in the International Visualise Your Thesis Competition from Monday 3 October."

Georgia recently published the findings of her accelerometry study in Sensors journal' available here:

All 18 CQU entries can be viewed here: