Student Researchers Shine at Thesis Competition

May 2, 2019

Ten graduate students from St. John’s pharmacology, toxicology, medicinal chemistry, and industrial pharmacy programs put their thesis ideas to the test at the University’s first-ever Five Minute Thesis competition on Wednesday, April 17.

Held in the D’Angelo Center on the University’s Queens, NY, campus, the competition was an adaptation of the popular Three Minute Thesis competition concept, in which graduate students from around the world showcase their theses in short spans of time.

More idea driven than data focused, participants at the St. John’s event were not allowed to present actual data, but could explain the “big picture” implications of their work. Each competitor was limited to a single, static PowerPoint slide, with no animations, sounds, or other media files permitted. No laboratory equipment or models were allowed either. 

Students presented their ideas to an esteemed panel of judges, comprised of Dipen Desai, Ph.D., Executive Director, Kashiv Pharma, LLC; Joseph V. Etzel ’88P, ’90Pharm.D., Associate Dean for Student Success and Associate Clinical Professor at St. John’s; and Tycho Heimbach, Ph.D., Director, Team Lead PBPK, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. 

“This event was successful in allowing graduate students to showcase their current research, which can potentially have a significant impact in patient care in the years to come,” said Dr. Etzel. “Each presenter effectively communicated and highlighted the importance of their research within just a few minutes.”

Winners were announced at the end of the competition, based on the cumulative points of the three judges. Shadi S. Mehraban, a Ph.D. candidate in the Pharmaceutical Sciences program, took top honors for her research, “A Novel Experimental Model of COPD.”

A similar competition is planned next year, with the traditional three-minute format.