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Grayson Mendenhall
November 2, 2017

Katelyn Arnold
Katelyn Arnold

Katelyn Arnold, a graduate student in the Division of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry, won first place in this year’s Three Minute Thesis competition hosted by the UNC Graduate School on Nov. 1. Aaron Devanathan, Pharm.D., a graduate student in the Division of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics, received the People’s Choice Award.

Arnold received a prize of $1,000 and will represent the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the 2018 regional Three Minute Thesis competition. Arnold graduated in May 2015 with a B.S. in medicinal pharmaceutical chemistry from the University of Dayton. She works in the lab of her adviser, McNeill Distinguished Professor Jian Liu, Ph.D. Her thesis topic was “Targeting Destructive Inflammation in Acute Liver Failure with Potential Therapeutic Compounds.”

The audience members voted to award the People’s Choice prize of $400. Devanathan’s adviser is McNeill Distinguished Professor Angela Kashuba, Pharm.D., and he is focused on the distribution of antiretroviral drugs within active HIV reservoirs. His research aims to visualize, quantify and model the interspecies pharmacokinetics of antiretroviral therapy within the spleen tissue. Devanathan received his Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Pittsburgh. His thesis topic was “HIV Reservoirs: a Step Towards a Cure.”

Aaron Devanathan, Pharm.D.
Aaron Devanathan, Pharm.D.

Ten master’s and doctoral students participated in this year’s competition.

“Each year, our finalists impress the judges and audience members with their confidence, strong research findings and stage presence,” said Steve Matson, dean of The Graduate School. “We’re grateful to all graduate students who participate in this event. We always have a strong field of presenters; the diversity of research and the three-minute limit help create a thrilling experience.”

The other finalists and their topics were:

  • Daniel Ackermann, a doctoral student in art history, “Making Kentucky: Cultural Confluence and the Decorative Arts of Early Kentucky”
  • Saba Akbar, a master’s student in biomedical and health informatics, “Are Mobile Health Applications Capable of Being Entrusted with Your Health?”
  • James Custer, a doctoral student in chemistry, “Using the Nanoscale to Bring Science Fiction to Life”
  • Mejs Hasan, a doctoral student in geological sciences, “When They Drained the Swamp: Changes to Mesopotamian Marshes”
  • Nicole Kahn, a doctoral student in maternal and child health, “Sexual Health and Sex Education in Populations with Disabilities”
  • Sonny Kelly, a doctoral student in communication, “Pipelines to Pathways: Empowering Youth Through Embodied Performance”
  • Kayleigh O’Keeffe, a doctoral student in biology, “Microbial Interactions and Their Effects on Disease”
  • Aaron Taggart, a doctoral student in chemistry, “Improving Materials for Capturing and Storing Solar Energy”

The University of Queensland held the first 3MT, in 2008. Since that time, the competition has grown to include more than 600 institutions in 59 countries.

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