Student reveals future treatments for kidney disease in just three minutes

17 Sep 2014

Third-year IMB PhD student Barbara Maier was one of eight finalists that contended in The University of Queensland’s (UQ) Three Minute Thesis (3MT) finals held at Customs House on 11 September.

Barbara, who is a third-year PhD student and a Dr Rosamond Siemon Scholar from Professor Melissa Little’s laboratory, made it through three elimination rounds to compete as the finalist for UQ’s research institutes.

3MT is a competition that challenges PhD students to communicate their research and its impact to the public in a dynamic, engaging and interesting way.

Barbara’s challenge was to discuss her work to investigate how we can use stem cells from patients with genetic forms of kidney disease to help grow and repair damaged kidney tissue.

She said she entered the competition in the hope of finding a way to explain her exciting research in a language that her friends and family could understand.

"I was hoping to inform people about what’s happening in our field and the amazing advances that have recently been made, particularly by our lab, to find new ways to deliver better outcomes for the one in seven Australians who have a positive marker of kidney disease,” Barbara said.

“But one of the main reasons I entered was to gain more experience and confidence to speak to a large crowd.

“Being a part of the 3MT was a fabulous experience that really helped me to grow as a science communicator, and I think every research student could benefit from entering this competition,” Barbara said.

IMB Deputy Director (Research) Professor Jenny Stow congratulated Barbara on her success as a UQ 3MT finalist.

“As scientists, our research delivers new knowledge and technologies that can help people in our community tackle the challenges ahead.

“So it’s important that we communicate our research effectively and share our discoveries with the community.

“3MT is a great activity for future scientists, like Barbara.

“The competition teaches them how to tell others about their research and convey the excitement of their findings,” Professor Stow said.

To watch the video recording of the UQ 3MT finals, visit the 3MT website

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Media contact: Gemma Ward on 07 3346 2134 or