UOW PhD candidate Sarah Vogel to compete in Asia Pacific finals of Three Minute Thesis Competition
Innovative brain cancer treatment research to be presented at international final
University of Wollongong (UOW) PhD candidate Sarah Vogel will compete in the Asia Pacific Finals of the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition on 26 September with her presentation focused on “Treating brain cancer with one shot”.
Sarah, who is in the fourth-year of a PhD with the School of Physics in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences, won the UOW chapter of the 3MT Competition, which secured her a place in the Asia Pacific final.
A Post Graduate Research Award Scholar with the Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering and Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, Sarah is currently conducting research at Universite Clermont Auvergne in France. The focus of her time in France will be to understand their chemical manufacturing processes in greater detail and to produce more nanoparticles to continue her research.
The winning 3MT presentation detailed her work with the Targeted Nanotherapies (TNT) team at the Centre of Medical Radiation Physics (CMRP), where she is using nanoparticles combined with synchrotron radiation to design safer, more effective imaging and treatment for patients with high-grade brain cancers, especially glioblastoma.
“My PhD centres on the improvement of treatment for brain cancer, especially for high-grade gliomas, and for brain cancer in children,” Sarah said.
“I am using Microbeam Radiation Therapy (MRT), a specialised form of synchrotron radiation, that is extremely effective against brain cancer. Combining MRT with nanoparticles, I think, is a crucial step towards improving brain cancer survival statistics.
“Today’s modern cancer therapies are a testament to the immense work dedicated by the global scientific community. Unfortunately, surviving brain cancer is still exceptionally tough and five-year survival rates are remarkably similar to those of 30 years ago. This is what my team and I are trying to change.
“If we can prove our treatment is a great success on one of the most difficult cancers to treat, then we are very confident that it will be a highly successful treatment for a broad range of other debilitating cancers.”
The judges of the UOW 3MTcompetition commended all finalists on the high calibre of presentations delivered at the event. The judging panel included UOW Vice-Chancellor Patricia Davidson, Professor David Currow, Professor Lorna Moxham, Professor Huijun Li, Natalie Chapman, Dr Erin Twyford and PhD Candidate Davina Robson.
The UOW competition saw a tie for runner up between Catherine Stephen and Michael Stapleton.
Catherine Stephen, from the School of Nursing, was named both Runner Up and People’s Choice Award winner. Catherine presented her research on “Improving blood pressure control in primary care” and her results showed reduced blood pressure in at-risk patients through regular primary care nurse visits.
Environmental engineer Michael Stapleton was also awarded Runner Up, with his presentation “Microplastic pollution from an unlikely source: The unintentional dark side of plastic recycling”. Michael’s research is bringing to light the microplastics that are being released into the environment by recycling plants, so that better systems can be designed to ensure recycling can continue to do the necessary work towards advancing the circular economy.
The additional Runner Up prize was sponsored by Natalie Chapman, Managing Director and Co-Founder of gemaker who was so impressed with the UOW 3MT Finalists that she decided to sponsor a prize.
This year's Asia-Pacific Semi-Final will again include a People's Choice vote, where the competitor with the most votes will progress to the Virtual Asia-Pacific 3MT Final as the 'wildcard' entrant.