Breaking it down: graduate students present at annual Three Minute Thesis competition

April 2, 2024
Top-three participants: Jack Stromatt, Isaac Karel and Lillian Cool

“Short” and “simple” are rarely used to describe graduate student dissertations. But each year, The Ohio State University Graduate School challenges students to make the impossible happen — cut down their research to a three-minute explanation in layman’s terms. 

The Three Minute Thesis competition (3MT®) originated in Queensland, Australia in 2008. Queensland residents were encouraged to conserve water usage and limit their shower to three minutes as the state experienced an extreme drought. While winding his bathroom egg-timer to that three-minute tick mark, the dean of the University of Queensland Graduate School, Emeritus Professor Alan Lawson, asked: what else can we do in three minutes?  

Since Dr. Lawson’s introduction of the annual thesis competition, it has been taken up by over 600 universities around the world. Graduate school events like 3MT® offer students a chance to expand their network and share their research findings with interdisciplinary peers. 

The College of Pharmacy hosted the college 3MT® competition on January 18, 2024. The students who received the top-three scores included:  

1. Isaac Karel

Isaac KarelIsaac Karel, a second-year PhD student in Dr. Navjot Pabla’s Lab presenting on acute kidney injury 

Isaac's Thesis Presentation
Video URL

2. Jack Strommat

Jack StromattJack Stromatt, a third-year PhD student in Dr. Sharyn Baker’s Lab presenting on the role of genetic variation in treatment response.


Jack's Thesis Presentation
Video URL

3. Lillian Cool

Lillian CoolLillian Cool, a fourth-year PhD student in Dr. Blake Peterson’s Lab presenting investigation of biological targets through fluorescence-based and imaging-based methods. 

Lillian's Thesis Presentation
Video URL

After receiving first place at the college competition, Karel competed in the university-wide 3MT event, taking second place. 

“As the first person in my family to go into the world of research, simplifying the explanation of my work was an opportunity to successfully convey what I do to them,” Karel said. “I even got to rehearse the presentation with my grandparents over Facetime.” 

Jessica Costic, Isaac Karel and Jim Fuchs at the 3MT Competition
Research program manager, Jessica Costic; Isaac Karel; and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, James Fuchs, PhD