Texas Tech University

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®)


Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) celebrates the exciting research you are doing as a graduate student. Developed by The +University of Queensland (UQ) in 2008, this exercise cultivates your academic, presentation, and research communication skills. The competition supports the capacity to effectively explain your research in three minutes or less, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience while using just 1 static PowerPoint slide.

Fall 2019 Winners

1st Place and People's Choice Award

Delaney FosterPlant and Soil Science

Effective Tank Mix Partners with Isoxaflutole in Cotton

Herbicide resistance threatens Texas cotton production, forcing producers to utilize multiple modes of action to control weeds. Recent cotton germplasm brought to market includes tolerance to auxinic herbicides; however, this technology has become controversial due to off-target herbicide movement. P-hydroxyphenylpyruvate dioxygenase (HPPD) inhibitors are the newest class of herbicide chemistry. While current varieties do not tolerate HPPD inhibitors, BASF Corporation recently developed HPPD-tolerant cotton which will allow growers to use isoxaflutole. Multiple modes of action in weed management systems help better steward technologies and combat herbicide resistance. Research collaborated with BASF and other universities was conducted to determine effective tank mix partners with isoxaflutole. In 2019, tank mixing isoxaflutole with other preemergence herbicides extended soil residual weed control by several weeks compared to isoxaflutole used alone. Effective tank mix partners included fluridone, diuron, and fomesafen. Future research should investigate tank mixes applied to HPPD-tolerant cotton to examine crop response.

2nd Place

Kazi Farhana AfrozBiological Sciences

Parental high salt consumption and development of autism-like behavior in the progeny

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is one of the most common forms of neurodevelopmental disorders, affecting approximately 1% of the population worldwide. Despite being highly prevalent, the exact mechanisms underlying ASD are not fully known. However, several studies have suggested that the parental gut microbiome could be involved. Dietary habits are amongst factors that can alter the gut microbiome and therefore we decided to focus on dietary components that are greatly overconsumed such as salt. High salt diet has been associated with altered gut microbiota, specifically, with depletion of a very important gut bacteria called Lactobacillus spp. Interestingly, this is one of the essential bacteria for the brain development in the infants. Therefore, e hypothesized that parental high salt diet consumption changes the gut microbiome and can hamper the brain development of their progeny, resulting in ASD-like behavior.

Tied for 3rd Place

Iroro TanshiBiological Sciences

Bats coexist on mountains via competition and environmental filtering

Bat species richness decreases along elevational gradients (i.e. low to high elevation). However, the processes driving such non-random patterns remain poorly. The major processes driving assemblage structure in other taxa are environmental filtering and competition. I ask, do both processes act independently or simultaneously to structure bat assemblages along elevational gradients? To answer this, I trapped bats from which I measured traits; body size, wing morphology and bite force at six strata along forested elevational gradients in the Cameroon-Nigeria mountains. I compared observed nearest neighbor distances (NND) to null communities in multivariate trait space and examine dispersion of traits. I demonstrate monotonic decline in bat species richness along elevational gradients and show that bats at extreme trait values (body size) are lost with elevation suggesting environmental filtering effects. In addition, NND increases with elevation, suggesting competition effects. Therefore, bats coexist along mountains via simultaneous of both competition and filtering.

Tied for 3rd Place

Armando Elizalde Velazquez, Environmental Toxicology

Microplastics for dinner?

Plastic is a big business, but also a big threat to our environment. The same durability that makes plastics useful makes them dangerous too, taking hundreds of years for its degradation, and as it does, aquatic organisms may ingest accidentally or on purpose those tiny plastic particles, potentially contaminating the fish that we consume. But, is it true that plastics move along the food chain? Is it true they remain in fish? How much? How long? Based on my results, microplastics indeed are moving along the food chain, but the amount and the time plastics are retained within the fish are not significant enough to believe that we are dining on plastics every time we consume seafood. Are we are safe? No. Further research is needed to address a general conclusion, but microplastics are everywhere; seafood is not the only route of exposure, and the threat is real.