Arts graduate student wins UBC Three Minute Thesis competition

A UBC Arts graduate student in Psychology as been crowned as the champion of the 2023 UBC Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition.

Thirty graduate students competed in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) semi-finals, resulting in ten who advanced to the final competition on Thursday, March 16. Students shared their research on topics such as mental health and cancer, gene editing, water filtration and hydrogen fuel. The judges agreed that all the presentations were impressive, but in the end, there could only be one finalist.


Kiarah O’Kane, MA in Psychology. Do you mythunderstand me? Sexuality myths and sexual outcomes

Kiarah O'Kane (she/they), an MA student from the Faculty of Arts, presented their research on sexuality misinformation and sexual well-being. "It is really special to me to see sex research being valued by the broader scientific community! During the 3MT competition, I had so many amazing conversations with other participants about sex research, and it was great to see so much interest in sexual well-being from so many other incredible scientists," says Kiarah in an interview with UBC's Psychology department.

"Advancing to the Western Regional Competition will be another incredible opportunity to disseminate information about sexuality to the scientific community, and I am so excited! I cannot wait to see the other incredible research being done across Western Canada as well."

Kiarah will represent UBC at the upcoming 3MT Western Regional Competition at the University of Saskatchewan in May. Their video will be available on YouTube after the regional competition.

Learn more about their research

Second place

Jonas Welsch, PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Listening to the crack – The art of keeping Hydrogen from escaping


Third place

Fatemeh Asadi Zeidabadi, PhD in Chemical and Biological Engineering. Silent Threat in Our Drinking Water: “PFAS or Forever Chemicals”

People's choice

Aria Malhotra, PhD in Medical Physics. In Your Breast Interest: Skin Reactions in Radiation Therapy


The other top finalists included:

  • Layan Bashi, MSc inWomen and Children’s Health Science, Catching’ your breath: variability of Xenon MRI in children with Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia
  • Vicki Cheng, MSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences, The Human Aspect of Cancer: Spiral of Mental Health
  • Yeganeh Dorri Nokoorani, PhD in Biomedical Engineering, Optimizing culture conditions for healthy human stem cells
  • Rebecca Hansen, MSc in Zoology, New lows? Shifting sea life on the rocky shores of southern Vancouver Island
  • Angie Ip, PhD in Population and Public Health, Developmental Profiles of Children Assessed for Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Sasha McDowell, PhD in Zoology, A taste of high salt sensing in fruit flies


Videos from the semi-finals and final event are available on our YouTube channel.


Thank you to our participants, judges, hosts and organizers

3MT depends on volunteer organizers, hosts, judges, presenters, and volunteers from many UBC faculties, departments and units. This year more than 130 graduate students took part in preliminary virtual 3MT heats organized by various faculties and departments. Thirty graduate students progressed to the semi-final competitions, with only ten moving on to the final event. Thank you to everyone who presented, judged, organized or volunteered at a 3MT event. UBC 3MT would not be possible without the dedication and hard work of so many volunteers.


Friday, 31 March 2023