Edinburgh Neuroscience student wins UK Three Minute Thesis competition

Edinburgh Neuroscience student wins UK Three Minute Thesis competition


Wednesday, 19 September, 2018

Hugh congratulations to PhD student Owen Gwydion James (Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences) on winning first prize, earlier this week in Birmingham, to become the UK Three Minute Thesis Champion for 2018. The contest, which was first developed in University of Queensland in 2008, challenges PhD students to deliver a compelling presentation on their research topic to a non-specialist audience in just three minutes. Owen claimed the prize at the UK final for explaining his work to better understand multiple sclerosis (MS).

Owen explained how brain cells are wrapped in an insulating layer called myelin, and how this can go awry in people with MS. As a PhD student in Professor Siddharthan Chandran's lab, his research focuses on how human stem cells can be used to help find new therapeutics for this disease.

Originally from Cardiff, and a Welsh-speaker, Owen has just started the fourth year of his PhD in the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences.  He is now beginning to write up his thesis and search for post-doctoral opportunities studying neuronal-glial interactions. Owen is also the co-creator of our incredibly successful getBRAINY workshop-in-a-box 'getPROTECTED' which visits primary schools and highlights how children can protect their brains from damage (e.g. by wearing a cycling helmet).

Owen was one of six finalists in the UK competition, selected from representatives from more than 60 universities. His presentation in Birmingham captured the imagination of the judges, who awarded him the top prize of £3000 to spend on public engagement.