Three UF pharmacy students named finalists in Three Minute Thesis Competition

University of Florida College of Pharmacy graduate students Amy Alleyne, Elham Amini and Erin Berthold were three of 10 finalists to compete in UF’s Three Minute Thesis Competition on Nov. 9.

three Minute thesisAlleyne’s thesis, titled “A Mechanistic Interrogation of the Sigma-1 Receptor as a Potential Target for the Treatment of Chronic Pain and Substance Use Disorder,” investigates a protein called sigma-1 and its role in the development of chronic pain and substance use disorder.

Alleyne collaborates with four labs, which has allowed her to develop a fluorescent tag to visualize sigma-1 proteins inside cells and utilize a technique called electrophysiology that enables her to listen to what cells are saying in response to various drugs that target sigma-1.

“Being able to work with four different labs has not only increased my skill set but also increased the tools at our disposal to study sigma-1. With four different perspectives, we amplify the likelihood of success at investigating this complex topic,” Alleyne said.

Amini’s research focuses on translational approaches to facilitate development and approval of generic orally inhaled and nasal drug products, and ultimately, improve patient care and access to these medications. Amini’s thesis is titled, “Advancing Bioequivalence Assessments of Orally Inhaled and Nasal Drug Products (OINDPs) through in Vitro, in Vivo, and in Silico Approaches.”

“I decided to participate in the Three Minute Thesis Competition to challenge myself and improve my science communication skills in disseminating my research,” Amini said.

Berthold’s thesis is titled, “From seed to preclinical outcomes: formulation development, pharmacology and herb-herb interactions of kratom and cannabis.”

Berthold competed in the Three Minute Thesis Competition to help her focus on writing her dissertation. “My favorite aspect of my research is being able to come up with my own scientific designs and bring them to fruition,” she said.

Alleyne is a member of the department of pharmacodynamics, while Amini and Berthold are graduate students in the department of pharmaceutics.

Three Minute Thesis is a research communication competition developed by the University of Queensland in Australia. It challenges graduate students to make a compelling presentation on their thesis topic and its significance in just three minutes. The competition helps students develop academic, presentation and research communication skills and the capacity to explain their research to a non-academic audience.