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CSU 3MT winner asks if white rice is naughty or nice?

Michelle Toutounji

Is white rice is naughty or nice? This question captured the judges’ attention and earned PhD student Ms Michelle Toutounji the title in the Charles Sturt University (CSU) Three Minute Thesis (3MT) final in Wagga Wagga.

Eight PhD students took part in the CSU Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Final at Wagga Wagga and had to describe their research within three minutes to a general audience.

The competition celebrated the discoveries made by CSU’s research students and develops their skills in communicating the importance and value of their research to the broader community.

Ms Toutounji was also awarded the People’s Choice award for her explanation of her research to alter the starch structure in white rice, using heat and pressure treatments, to produce a diabetic friendly product.

The 3MT is now held in at least 600 universities across more than 65 countries worldwide.

Ms Toutounji said, “It was challenging to reduce her thesis into a three minute speech and one PowerPoint slide, but that was part of the fun.

“I’m delighted to have won, and I can’t wait to compete and share my research at the Asia-Pacific Three Minute Thesis Competition in September 2018 in Brisbane,” Ms Toutounji added.

Michelle Toutounji and Wagga Mayor Greg Conkey

The judges praised Ms Toutounji for being able to make complex research interesting and easy to understand and complemented her on sharing a personal experience also as part of the story.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research, Development & Industry), Professor Mary Kelly said “Michelle will be a great representative of Charles Sturt University at the Asia Pacific Three Minute Thesis competition.

“I would like to acknowledge the efforts of all our research students who competed in the heats and final this year. Michelle will represent us all when she competes against students from all over the Asia-Pacific.

“It’s excellent to see Charles Sturt University students showcasing the wide variety of research we do to the world,” Professor Kelly concluded.

The runner-up in the CSU competition was Ms Esther Callcott for her three-minute thesis about the potential health benefits of coloured rice in combating obesity.

Both CSU students are completing their research through the Australian Research Council Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Functional Grains (The Functional Grains ITTC), an initiative of the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation.

Source: Charles Sturt University

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