UAH biology major places second at regional 3MT competition

Pivovarova's three-minute presentation, which can be seen here, focused on the effect of monocarboxylate transporters inhibition on the viability of MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell lines.

Michael Mercier | UAH

Aleksandra Pivovarova, a graduate student in the Department of Biological Sciences at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), placed second at the Regional Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition held earlier this month in New Orleans, La. Pivovarova qualified to participate in the event, which was hosted by Conference of Southern Graduate Schools, after placing first in UAH's Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition this past fall.

"This is a tremendous honor for Aleksandra and for our faculty," says Dr. David Berkowitz, Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. "This is the second year that a UAH student has been among the winners of the competition, so it's clear our biology students are being well received for their ability to do research and to communicate it in a clear and simple manner. The UAH faculty are also to be commended for their efforts to provide these important skills to our students."

Pivovarova, a native of Kemerovo, Siberia, was one of 26 graduate students to compete in New Orleans. "The competition was fierce, but in the best way possible," she says. And though she ultimately lost to a presentation by a doctoral student in neuroscience, she was "excited and surprised" about her second place win - as was her mom. "She said, 'Not bad for a girl from Siberia'," says Pivovarova with a laugh.

I realized that I was simply trying to explain what I do in the lab in the way that would, hopefully, make the people in the room just as excited about my research as I am.

Aleksandra Pivovarova
UAH graduate student

Equally proud is Dr. Gordon MacGregor, assistant professor of physiology, who has known Pivovarova since her undergraduate years at UAH and now oversees her research as a graduate student in the MacGregor Lab. "I am very pleased with her second place win, and the clarity with which she can explain her research," he says, adding that Pivovarova's dedication often keeps her in the lab until 3 a.m. - "with her yorkie Hakeem keeping her company!"

As before, Pivovarova's presentation - entitled "The Effect of Monocarboxylate Transporters Inhibition on Viability of MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 Breast Cancer Cell Lines" - focused on identifying factors that contribute to cancer growth and then using them against cancer. Prior to heading to New Orleans, she sought guidance on improving her delivery from UAH Communication Arts professor Kristin Scroggin. "She was extremely helpful," says Pivovarova. "Her input allowed me to refine my communication skills and greatly improved my overall presentation."

As a result she was able to stay focused in spite of both the larger crowds and the stiffer competition. "I realized that I was simply trying to explain what I do in the lab in the way that would, hopefully, make the people in the room just as excited about my research as I am," she says. "Although I was still quite nervous, now I feel a lot more comfortable with presenting in front of a big audience."

Still, it was only once the competition was finally over that Pivovarova jokes she "was finally able to breathe!" - and finally able to explore the city around her. "I spent a few hours just walking in downtown New Orleans, and I absolutely loved it," she says. And while she may not have taken first place at the 3MT, Pivovarova says she still won in the end. "I am such a foodie, so eating the local dishes was the best reward for me!"

 

Contact

School of Graduate Studies
deangrad@uah.edu

Department of Biological Sciences
biology@uah.edu

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