Graduate School of Medical Sciences
A partnership with the Sloan Kettering Institute

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 non-specialist 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 Past Events


1st Prize: Kristin Fullerton (Weill Cornell Graduate School, PBSB, PI: David Christini)
Seldane: Friend or foe?

2nd Prize: Kelsey Hopland (Weill Cornell Graduate School, Neuroscience, PI: Viviane Tabar)
Glioma-associated microglia: From resident macrophages to resident evil

3rd Prize: Chi Nguyen (Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School, PI: Marcel van den Brink)
Friends turn foes: Impact of non-antibiotic medications on the intestinal microbiota

People's Choice: Chloe Lopez-Lee (Weill Cornell Graduate School, Neuroscience, PI: Li Gan)
Do male and female brains respond differently to disease?


1st Prize: Viktor Belay (Weill Cornell Graduate School, PBSB, PIs: Richard Hite and John Chodera)
“A Dance of Molecules”

2nd Prize: Yung Yu Wong (Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School; PI: Morgan Huse)
“T Cell Intelligence: To Kill or Not to Kill?”

3rd Prize: David van Dongen (Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School; PI: Stephen Long)
“Oncogenic Accomplice: RCE1 Aiding and Abetting RAS”

People's Choice: Yung Yu Wong


1st Prize: Pedro Silberman (Weill Cornell Graduate School, Pharmacology, PI: David Scheinberg)
“Microenvironment Actuated CAR-T Cells for the Treatment of Cancer”

2nd Prize: Zaza Gelashvili (Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School; PI: Phillipp Niethammer)
“The Wizard, Warden of the Wall”

3rd Prize: Ying Xue Xie (Weill Cornell Graduate School, Neuroscience, PI: Manu Sharma)
“Chop It or Drop It: Pathogenic a-Synuclein Exit Neurons via Lysosome Exocytosis”

People's Choice: Devin Ray (Weill Cornell Graduate School,Tri-I Chemical Biology, PI: Yael David)
“Inteins, a Molecular Paparazzi”


Postponed due to COVID-19


1st Prize: Caroline Gleason (Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School; PI: Andy Koff)
Movie icon "An Initial Descent into the Arresting World of Cellular Senescence"

2nd Prize: Nathaniel Campbell (Weill Cornell Graduate School, MD-PhD, PIs: Joao Xavier & Richard White)
Movie icon "Can Cancer Cooperate?"

3rd Prize: Thomas Li (Weill Cornell Graduate School, Neuroscience, PI: Yueming Li)
Movie icon "How the 'Hif' do we prevent Alzheimer's Disease?"

People's Choice: Caroline Gleason


Tied for 1st Prize: Jamal Elkhader (Weill Cornell Graduate School, Tri-Institutional PhD Program in Computational Biology, PI: Olivier Elemento)
Movie icon "An Integrative Approach to Drug Repositioning"

Tied for 1st Prize: Sarah Schrader (Weill Cornell Graduate School, MD-PhD, PIs: Julien Vaubourgeix and Carl Nathan)
Movie icon "Tuberculosis: A Persistent Puzzle"

3rd Prize: Cassandra Burdziak (Weill Cornell Graduate School, Tri-Institutional PhD Program in Computational Biology, PI: Dana Pe'er)
Movie icon "Storming the Pancreatic Cancer Fortress: Who's Who in the Castle?"

People's Choice: Jamal Elkhader


1st Prize: Shira Yomtoubian (Weill Cornell Graduate School, Pharmacology, PI: Vivek Mittal)
File "Metastasis: Loosen Up Your Genes"

2nd Prize: R. Lea Sanford (Weill Cornell Graduate School, PBSB, PI: Olaf Andersen)
File "Membranes Matter: Predicting Drug Toxicity"

3rd Prize: Mridula Balakrishnan (Weill Cornell Graduate School, BCMB, PI: Mary Baylies)
File "Understanding Nemaline Myopathy (NM), a Fly's Perspective"

People's Choice: Shira Yomtoubian


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, BCMB, PI: Minkui Luo)
Study of NSD2 by Bioorthogonal Profiling of Protein Methylation (BPPM)

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

People’s Choice: Mojdeh Shakiba


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 (Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School)
Slamming the Breaks on Cancer: Understanding how molecular mechanisms dictate patient response to CDK4 inhibition

People's Choice: Robert Frawley and Srivarsha Rajshekar (tie)

Judgment Criteria

Comprehension & Content
  • 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?
  • Was the thesis topic, key results, and research significance and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • Did the speaker explain jargon and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
  • Did the presenter spend adequate time on each element of their presentation and/or did they elaborate for too long on one aspect?
Engagement & Communication
  • Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or generalize their research?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience's attention?
  • Did the speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range; maintain a steady pace, and have a confident stance?
  • Did the 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).
  • Presenters are not to read from a written script.
  • 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:

Weill Cornell Medicine Graduate School of Medical Sciences 1300 York Ave. Box 65 New York, NY 10065 Phone: (212) 746-6565 Fax: (212) 746-8906