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Three Minute Thesis (3MT®)

The annual WCGS/GSK Three-Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition is a joint competition for Weill Cornell Graduate School and Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School students 

3MT®, founded by the University of Queensland, Australia, is an event that "cultivates students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills. The competition supports their capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.”

Students who have joined their thesis laboratory have been invited to participate in the competition. Participation is entirely optional. Each participant will have three minutes and one slide to describe their research to a scientifically fluent audience. Additional rules and example winning presentations from other institutions can be found at A panel of judges representing students, faculty, and staff will judge the talks. 

Winners from this past event:

1st Prize
Mojdeh Shakiba
(Weill Cornell Graduate School, PBSB, PI: Andrea Schietinger)
Antigen Affinity and T cell Dysfunction in Tumors

2nd Prize
Nicole Weiss
(Weill Cornell Graduate School, PBSB, PI: Minkui Luo)
Study of NSD2 by Bioorthogonal Profiling of Protein Methylation (BPPM)

3rd Prize
Mary Klein
(GSK; PI: Andy Koff)
Bedside to Bench and Back Again: Uncovering mechanisms that affect the clinical outcome of CDK4 inhibition 

People’s Choice  

Mojdeh Shakiba
(Weill Cornell Graduate School, PBSB, PI: Andrea Schietinger)
Antigen Affinity and T cell Dysfunction in Tumors

Winners from the inaugural event:

1st Prize
Robert Frawley
(Weill Cornell Graduate School, PBSB)
A Glimpse at a New Spinal Fusion: Using transformed cells to produce mineral in a targeted fashion and possibly spare patients a painful surgery.
2nd Prize
Srivarsha Rajshekar
(Weill Cornell Graduate School, BCMB)
Heterochromatin: Loose it and Lose it!
3rd Prize
Marta Kovatcheva
Slamming the Breaks on Cancer: Understanding how molecular mechanisms dictate patient response to CDK4 inhibition

Read below for further information regarding rules and judging for the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition:

Judging Criteria

Each of the three judging criteria has equal weight. Note what each criterion has in common: An
emphasis on audience.


  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background to the research question being addressed and its significance?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the key results of the research including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?


  • Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or generalize the research?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for the research?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain the audience’s attention?

Communication style

  • Was the thesis topic, key results, and research significance and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-­‐specialist audience?
  • Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology, and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
  • Did the speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range; maintain a steady pace, and have a confident stance?
  • Did the presenter spend adequate time on each element of the presentation – or did he/she elaborate for too long on one aspect or was the presentation rushed?
  • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation – was it clear, legible, and concise?


  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any kind; the slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration).
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (i.e. no poems, raps or songs).
  • Presentations are to commence from the stage.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when presenters start their presentation through movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

3MT Resources

Videos of winning presentations from around the world:

The first 3MT was held at The University of Queensland (UQ) in 2008 with 160 graduate students competing. Enthusiasm for the 3MT concept grew and its adoption by numerous universities led to the development of an international competition in 2010. Today students from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Hong Kong take part in their own regional and national events.

For more information about the Weill Cornell Graduate School competition, contact Leora Yasgur (


Weill Cornell Medicine
Graduate School of Medical Sciences
1300 York Ave. Box 65 New York, NY 10065 Phone: (212) 746-6565 Fax: (212) 746-5981