Doctoral School

Sussex 3MT 2018

On Wednesday 27th June 2018 six Sussex doctoral researchers from a range of disciplines competed for prizes and a place in the UK semi-final of Three Minute Thesis (3MT)

Three Minute Thesis Competition at Sussex - 2018

The Three Minute Thesis Competition was held at the University of Sussex for the second time on Wednesday 27th June 2018 as part of our Festival of Doctoral Research. With six entries on a wide variety of subjects, from psychology of kindness through to blockchain technology, the audience was treated to a mix of concise, interesting presentations. 

The judging panel, consisting of Dr Jason Price, Senior Lecturer at the School of English, Dr Katy Petherick, Public Engagement Co-ordinator at the School of Life Sciences, Dr Mahmoud Maina, Research Fellow and People's Choice Winner 2016, and Dr Andrew Fleming, Regional Manager of The Brilliant Club, considered the speakers on criteria such as clarity, enthusiasm, and performance.

First prize of a £500 cheque was awarded to Jo Cutler for her presentation on the on the neuroscience of charitable giving, and went on to be entered for the 2018 Vitae 3MT national competitionDorieke Grijseels (School of Psychology) took away the Runner-Up prize for the presentation "Dude, Where's my kitchen?", and Ireena Nasiha Ibnu (School of Global Studies was awarded the People's Choice prize for the presentation Between piety and pleasure: Living as a Malaysian Muslim woman in the UK today.

The prizes were presented by Professor Michael Davies, Pro Vice Chancellor (Research), who praised the knowledge and enthusiasm demonstrated by all the speakers.

3MT 2018

Meet the 2018 presenters

Manuel Baltieri (School of Engineering and Informatics)

For several decades, brains were thought of as computers: gathering information from, and building complex models of the environment we live in. On this view, our main task was to (passively) understand what happened in the world around us, to perceive it, by finding the best explanation for the most likely causes of our sensations. A recent twist, however, suggests that we are not enslaved to perceive our surroundings, only acquiring knowledge from the environment. My research focuses on computational models showing that we can actively control our perceptual experience, shaping reality to better suit our needs and desires.

Devin Clarke (School of Psychology)

Understanding how diet affects our brains is important, especially given the rising rate of obesity and its association with diseases such as diabetes or dementia. Obesity-promoting diets tend to be high in fats, which can both degrade the health of our blood vessels, and activate our brain’s immune system. I’m investigating whether these changes, which occur soon after starting a high fat diet, affect different parts of the brain in different ways. This will improve our understanding of how diets affect the brain, and could shed light on why some brain areas are more vulnerable to damage in other diseases.

Jo Cutler (School of Psychology)

Charitable donations save and transform the lives of millions of people. Despite such amazing impact, helping people we will never meet is difficult to explain with evolutionary or economic theories. So why do we do it? Using neuroscience, we gain insight into motivations beyond what behaviour reveals and show donating provides feel-good “warm glow”. Does this mean altruism is actually self-centred? Or if it is based on empathic concern for others, which factors determine this? My research measures whether our physiological responses to others suffering are biased, depending on the scale of the problem and which country it is in.

Dorieke Grijseels (School of Psychology)

The hippocampus, an area deep inside your brain, contains some very special cells, called place cells. These cells send messages to tell you where you are. One may send a message when you’re in your kitchen, and another when you’re in your bedroom. We know a lot about the information in the messages sent by these place cells, but they make up only 20% of all the cells in the hippocampus. I study what messages the other 80% of the cells are sending around, and how they help us navigate through the world.

Steve Huckle (School of Engineering and Informatics)

My work investigates whether blockchain technology is the means by which communities can collaborate. Conway's Law states that if you want a mutually collaborative network, you need a networked system of mutual collaboration. Blockchains are a distributed database technology formed of an immutable chain of transactions. They are independent of any single (controlling) entity because nodes on a blockchain network are equally privileged and mutually cooperative. Furthermore, they have inbuilt capabilities for secure communication. Hence, blockchains include properties desirable for trusted cooperation. Thus, they are ideally suited to meeting Conway's criteria.

Ireena Nasiha Ibnu (School of Global Studies)

For many years, Manchester has been a second home for thousands of Malaysian students. However, little is known about their journey when they arrive in the UK. With Manchester being one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world, there are pertinent question to be explored about the kind of experiences Malaysian students have while living there. Do these students experience depression, Islamophobia, xenophobia, racism, culture shock? By focusing on Malaysian Muslim female students, my research aims to present the voice of these students and to discover the type of experiences that shape their migration life.

Doctoral School

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