Biology PhD student wins ANU 3MT

ANU Research School of Biology PhD student Erin Andrew has been crowned the winner of the ANU 3MT.

The 3MT is an international competition for research students to explain their research and why it is important, all in plain language, within three minutes and with only a single PowerPoint slide.

Erin’s research is investigating how dead bacteria can be used to stimulate a response that can remove cancer.

For Erin, the win is personal. Having been diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma at the age of 16, Erin suffered through multiple rounds of chemotherapy.

"When I was 16, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma and had to go through chemotherapy," explains Erin. "I walked into the hospital as a 16-year-old girl who had a lump on her neck and would walk out feeling horrible."

Whilst there are benefits in using chemotherapy to treat cancer, many people experience painful side effects. Erin wants improve the way other patients receive treatment.

“I grew to have this passion that cancer treatment shouldn't be the way it is.

"The side effects are almost as bad as the cancer - and so I grew to love learning and getting an understanding of how the body worked and thought there must be an easier way."

Her thesis is currently a clinical trial at the Canberra Hospital.

"For the last few years we've been treating naturally occurring tumours in dogs and horses.

“My thesis is trying to understand exactly how it works, what immune cells it's using to create the attack against the cancer, how it's doing it so then I can try and force this reaction of the immune cells in every patient."

Erin will be representing ANU at the Asia-Pacific final on Friday, 29 September 2017 at the University of Queensland.

Congratulations to all five Joint Colleges of Science finalists:

  • Erin Andrew, College of Science, "Cancer immunotherapy: fighting back against cancer"
  • Bethany McBride, College of Science, "Ceramics for Solar"
  • Jacob Ross, College of Science, "Building the legoverse"
  • Jessica Lowczak, College of Science, "Mud and Molten Cocktails"
  • Christiana McDonald-Spicer, College of Science, "Refugia: Islands in the Landscape"

Erin’s clinical trial at the Canberra Hospital has been made possible through donations in memory of Janice Parker and Lea Chapuis. To help fund Erin’s trial, make a donation to the Lea Chapuis Memorial Fund.

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