UTS scientist Nural Cokcetin was named runner-up and received the audience choice prize for her presentation, The sweet treat(ment) for your microbiome, at this week’s FameLab semi-final.
Dr Cokcetin’s talk explained her research into the antimicrobial and prebiotic properties of honey with the aim of using that knowledge to develop new treatments for infections caused by multi-drug-resistant superbugs. She is also investigating whether eating 20g of honey a day can maintain a favourable bacterial balance in the human gut.
Dr Cokcetin was one of five UTS researchers among 12 competitors in the NSW semi-final, held in the Transport Hall at the Powerhouse Museum. Each had three minutes to pitch complicated scientific concepts in a fun and enlightening way – with props, if desired, but without PowerPoint slides.
Overall winner was Ronald Chun-Wai Yu, a postdoctoral fellow at CSIRO. In his presentation, Build the Wall ... in Cereal, Dr Chun-Wai Yu discussed a new type of rice he and his colleagues have developed, the outer layer of which is six to seven times thicker than the normal bran layer of rice, thereby increasing its nutritional value.
FameLab is run by the British Council in collaboration with the Times Cheltenham Science Festival. It launched in the UK in 2005 to find, develop and mentor young science and engineering communicators. FameLab is now in its fourth year in Australia.
The two NSW winners will now compete at the national final on May 4, in Fremantle, WA. The national winner will compete in the international final at the Times Cheltenham Science Festival, a six-day celebration of science, engineering and the arts, held each June.
The other UTS semi-finalists were:
Maryna Bilokur (Faculty of Science), whose presentation, Solar weapon, explained her research to develop blacker than black materials to improve solar efficiency
Jane Hunter (Faculty of Arts and Social Science), whose presentation, It's an emergency: Teaching STEM in Australian schools, explored a new classroom model using technology integration to boost inspire students’ passion for STEM
Sarina Kilham (Institute for Sustainable Futures), whose presentation, Farmers Feeding the World: Beyond Biofuel Production, explored her transdisciplinary research into how smallholder farmers are negotiating their livelihoods and balancing food-and-fuel production.
Naomi Koh Belic (Faculty of Science), whose presentation, Multiple sclerosis: a disease in a ... dish?, explained how she uses stem cells isolated from abdominal fat to further understanding of the neurological disease multiple sclerosis (MS).
Read more about FameLab.