Florida State University’s annual Three Minute Thesis competition is an opportunity for doctoral students to practice explaining their work to a non-specialized audience, whether that’s a group of business executives, legislators who want to know more or a student’s curious grandparents at Thanksgiving dinner.
Judges selected Alyssa Henderson, a doctoral student in the Department of Physics, and Sara Jones, a doctoral student in the College of Medicine's Department of Biomedical Sciences, as this year’s first-place winners. They each earned a $1,000 prize and advance to a regional competition.
Jones explained her research on how the artificial sweetener aspartame could cause anxious behavior that fathers may pass down to their offspring. She studies how exposure to aspartame affects whether certain genes are turned on or off, and how those changes are passed to descendants, a concept known as transgenerational transmission.
“I hope this research gets us thinking about that concept,” she said. “It has global implications for today and for generations to come.”