Jacinta Thorne, a PhD student in the Neurotrauma Research group at Perron Institute and Curtin University is the 2022 winner of the Perron Institute Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition.  

This competition champions excellence in science communication and community engagement to promote communication of research and results. This year, due to COVID-19, the competition was conducted online.  

Jacinta’s presentation was titled ‘The brain-heart connection: Understanding the relationship between the cardiovascular system, the autonomic nervous system and cerebral blood flow following mild traumatic brain injury’.  

She was awarded the prize for her clear explanation of the science in her project and ensuring her presentation was interesting and accessible to the layperson, with a confident and easy to understand presentation style.   

Jacinta has had previous experience presenting to people, but because of the pandemic, this has been mainly online during the past couple of years.   

“I enjoyed the 3MT experience and found it easier to present in video format as it was less intimidating than speaking in public,” she said.   

“I hope my 3MT competition win will help raise community awareness of traumatic brain injury research.”  

Jacinta previously worked as a physiotherapist for over 20 years, specialising in musculoskeletal and sports physiotherapy. She was looking for a change and commenced as a Research Assistant three years ago for Professor Lindy Fitzgerald, who heads the Neurotrauma Research group.   

Jacinta has a keen interest in research and commenced her PhD exploring exercise and the autonomic nervous system last year. She hopes her traumatic brain injury research will enable the identification of people more at risk of a prolonged recovery from TBI.  

On receiving her $1,500 prize: “I’m honoured to have received the very generous prize,” Jacinta said. “It’s unexpected and welcome.  

“Thank you to the organising committee and judges.”  

Equal second place winners were: Jun Yuan (Brain and Bone Axis group at UWA and Perron Institute) for his talk: ‘A natural toxin from Bone to Brain: the new target for Alzheimer’s disease treatment’, and Yuval Gurfinkel (Functional Genomics group at CMMIT and Perron Institute) for his talk: ‘Antisense oligonucleotide suppression of p62-mediated TDP-43 pathology as a treatment for ALS’.

Due to the uncertainty around COVID-19, a presentation event has been postponed. 

Congratulations, Jacinta, all the winners, presenters and organising committee!