Skip to the main content

3 minutes to talk about your thesis… Can it be done? During the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) challenge doctoral candidates will be doing just that, with just a single presentation slide to support them. Faculty Heats have taken place across UCL - results are in and it is time to announce your finalists!

18:00, Wednesday 12 June 2019, Christopher Ingold XLG2 Auditorium

Join us at the final and show your support for your Faculty Finalists! 

Register here to spectate

Your finalists are:

Faculty of Medical Science

  • Gianpaolo Manalastas 

“Before I go into that, let me ask you a few questions first”: How doctors use language to control the consultation structure

Clear communication in the medical consultation is key to increasing patient autonomy and improving health outcomes. Gianpaolo’s research looks at how doctors use language to empower patients, through sharing knowledge of the consultation structure. The data are from a postgraduate examination for doctors aspiring to become physicians. They analysed language used to inform patients what was coming next, such as ‘signposts’. Doctors used this language for three purposes: telling patients what was following, thinking aloud, and deflecting away from patients’ agendas. Language thought to empower patients can be repurposed by doctors, to control consultation structure and reduce patients’ roles.

  • Rikah Louie

IRF8 deficiency protects against Cardiovascular disease

Heart attacks and strokes are the biggest cardiovascular-related killers worldwide. They are often caused by atherosclerosis - the build-up of cholesterol laden immune cells along the arterial wall, restricting blood flow, resulting in cardiovascular disease. The gene IRF8 is crucial for the development of immune cells and their response to inflammation. Upon removing IRF8 from specific immune cells (macrophages), we have identified IRF8 deficiency as protecting against atherosclerosis development in mice fed a high fat diet. IRF8 deficient mice demonstrate a reduction in the number of cholesterol laden immune cells moving to cholesterol-rich sites, ultimately protecting against atherosclerosis development.

Faculty of Brain Sciences

  • Ashvini Keshavan

Can blood tests detect Alzheimer’s disease before symptoms?

Ashvini measured Alzheimer’s disease-related proteins (amyloid-β, tau and neurofilament light chain (NFL)) in blood samples from a sub-study of the MRC National Survey of Health and Development. Participants were born in mainland Britain in March 1946, and have been followed throughout their life-course. In our study, they had brain scans, blood sampling and memory/thinking tests at age 69-71. Ashvini showed that in people with no history/symptoms of brain disease, amyloid-β blood tests could help identify individuals with amyloid-β deposits in the brain. Blood tau and NFL differences were associated with subtle brain volume reduction and reduced performance on memory/thinking tests.

  • Rumeysa Nur Gurbuz Dogan

Sufi music therapy with Makams as a potential intervention for common mental health disorders

This research aims to develop Sufi music therapy guidelines to evaluate the effect of makamic therapy’s effect on common mental well-being by following the Medical Research Council (MRC) Framework for developing and evaluating complex interventions. Five steps were designed to reach this aim:
1. Provide a critical overview of the reported evidence on the efficacy of makamic music interventions in mental health
2. Identify the reliable theory behind the therapy practice
3. Collect qualitative data on attitudes/views held by adults attending two Turkish community centres towards Sufi music
4. Design and write a manual for Sufi Makamic Music Therapy intervention. 
5. Conduct a feasibility study

Faculty of Population Health Sciences

  • Gideon Pomeranz  

Fixing nature’s coffee machine

A good coffee is dependent on using an intact filter. Using one with holes will cause coffee grounds to fall through making it undrinkable. A similar thing happens in the kidney during disease. The kidney filter leaks and proteins fall through the gaps. Using zebrafish, Gideon is creating a model of kidney disease that can be used to test new drugs. They created a fish whose proteins are green. When damaging the kidney, the fish loses its colour. The final step will be to test 2000 pre-approved drugs to find one that allows us to restore normal filter function.

  • Meredith Martyn

Inefficiency in Cancer clinical trials

Ever wonder how drugs make it from initial discovery to the hands of patients? Research quality between these steps is of the utmost importance, especially in life-threatening diseases such as cancer. Choosing the correct clinical trial design to evaluate the effectiveness of a newly discovered drug is vital in order to avoid misleading conclusions. However, lack of guidelines mean researchers choose designs for the wrong reasons. This is exactly what Meredith aims to improve.

Faculty of Engineering Sciences

  • Francisco Rul-lan 

Inverse problems for medical imaging

In the core of every medical imaging technique lies a mathematical model. This mathematical model allows to transform the information from signal measurements to an image and vice versa. It has two parts: Forward model & Inverse model. Both parts are needed in order to obtain the final image. In his PhD project, Francisco has studied a particular medical imaging modality known as Photoacoustic Tomography. They have developed a novel way to solve its underlying mathematical model and implemented a prototype computer software that uses my solution to obtain the photoacoustic images.

  • Katherine Wang

Using computer simulations to develop implants for periprosthetic fractures

With the rising ageing population, total hip replacement (THR) is a surgical procedure that is becoming increasingly more common, with hip implants being implanted in both younger and older patients to improve or restore quality of life. Periprosthetic femoral fractures (PFF) is a rare but potentially devastating complication of total hip arthroplasty. With the increase in life expectancy in the general population, incidences of THR procedures are expected to rise, with periprosthetic femoral fractures expected to rise proportionally. There is a need for a novel fracture plate that is designed specifically for periprosthetic femoral fractures after total hip arthroplasty. Computer simulations can be used to predict how different implant designs behave in everyday scenarios such as walking; identify areas of weaknesses, and potential areas of failure, allowing us to optimize the implant design for these types of fractures.

Institute of Education

  • Tasie Tao 

What makes a global citizen?

A presentation starting with a personal story of why Tasie decided to take a research journey on global citizenship education. The main body of the presentation explains the method and findings contributed to the research question of what makes a global citizen. In the end, Tasie will reveal the significance of their research and promote active global citizenship to everyone.

  • Fiona Victory

Schools, language, and national identity

Fiona explores the stories behind medium of instruction policies in state school systems. State schools are provided by governments not just to teach children to read and write, but also to teach them how to be citizens of their country and to use the official language. Depending on a state’s characteristics and needs different MOI policies can be used to achieve this aim. Fiona uses the academic literature to build a picture of how contemporary international educational trends can interact with a state’s sociolinguistic characteristics and the history of its education system to influence a government’s MOI policy choice.

SLASH (Faculties of Arts & Humanities, Laws, Social & Historical Sciences)

  • Anna Stanisz-Lubowiecka

Discourses about Polish, or what’s going on when people worry about language

The aim of Anna’s research is to understand the discourse about the Polish language in Poland, which can be found in a number of massively popular and numerous initiatives and sources on correct Polish (legislation on the protection of Polish, national awards for Polish language activists, manuals, press articles, TV and radio programmes, YouTube channels, blogs, social media platforms…). Anna argues that because language is a powerful sign of identity, discourse about Polish is effectively about a wide range of different issues that the language represents; it is a proxy for specific interests, values, views, beliefs, concerns and anxieties.

Faculty of Life Sciences

  • Lindsey Milward 

Cell spreading in Lymph Node expansion

When pathogens invade our bodies, our lymph nodes expand to allow immune cells to grow and fight the infection. The lab are trying to understand how the structural cells that make up the backbone of the lymph node facilitate its expansion. During their presentation, Lindsey will discuss her efforts to identify proteins within these lymph node structural cells that are required for the lymph node to expand. Lindsey will also discuss her interest in discovering the precise role that the identified proteins play to drive lymph node expansion.

  • Melanie Krause

How the bad guy locks up the good guy - Vaccinia virus modulation of host proteins

In her PhD, Melanie works on Vaccinia virus. This virus was once used to eradicate small pox, the cause of over 300 million deaths. Today scientists use vaccinia to study how viruses interact with the cells they infect and how they overcome cellular defence mechanisms. One way for a cell to defend itself is called autophagy. Here the cell essentially ‘eats-up’ and digests everything dangerous that enters it. Viruses must find ways to circumvent this for successful infection. I have discovered new ways by which vaccinia virus manipulates autophagy. This will contribute to a better understanding of how viral infections.

Bartlett (Faculty of the Built Environment)

  • Harshavardhan Jatkar

Making of participatory urban land policies in Pune, India

Harshavardhan’s research explores politics embedded in the making of ‘participatory urban land policies’ in Pune, India and how it affects people’s relations to urban land. While most planners and policy-makers consider participation to be praiseworthy, its political implications on people’s relations to urban land remain under-explored. Harshavardhan’s ethnographic research suggests that the process of making ‘participatory urban land policies’ systematically marginalises certain people’s relations to urban land by influencing their desires. This marginalisation in turn mobilises various political actors to provisionally maintain certain relations, while transform others in order to survive in the urbanising world.

  • Guiseppe Sassano

Optimism bias in project planning

Guiseppe’s research looks at the relationship between optimism bias and cost/schedule overruns in projects. Through the use of experimental evidence, the aim is to show that there is a direct relationship between the two phenomena. Also, the experiments want to explore how to mitigate the detrimental effect of optimism bias in project planning analyzing it in the context of current policies on the matter, so that a contribution to the overall welfare of the society can be made by encouraging awareness on resources allocation during the initial decision-making process in the context of big projects.

Faculty of Mathematical & Physical Sciences

  • Isobel Wilson

Reducing Waste with Electrosynthesis

The chemical industry produces waste at an alarming rate, with countries around the world failing to meet their 2020 targets for chemical waste reduction. Urgent action is required. Using electricity in replacement of chemicals during reactions can help reduce waste, however this is not a common technique used by the chemical industry. Isobel’s research intends to demonstrate the many benefits of using electricity in chemical reactions. If successful, their thesis will bring us one step closer to electricity being widely used in the chemical industry and thus help to reduce the amount of chemical waste produced.

  • Catarina Alves


There are many explosions in the Universe. We can group them into different types depending on the event that gives rise to them or based on some property, like their rarity. As technology advances, we are able to see more explosions and we need to be able to distinguish between the different types. Catarina’s research focuses on developing techniques to find rare explosions early on after they appear in the sky. This enables the triggering of follow-up telescopes to further investigate these explosions.