Graduate Student Apoorva Limaye wins 2022 University of Minnesota Medical School 3-Minute Thesis Competition

Apoorva Limaye gets first place in U of M Medical School 3-Minute Thesis Competition for doctoral students to develop and showcase their research communication skills.

Apoorva Limaye, a third-year PhD candidate in the Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics Graduate program at the University of Minnesota Medical School, won the U of M Medical School 3-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition that took place on Oct. 7, 2022.

The 3MT is a “research communication competition that challenges students to communicate the significance of their projects without the use of props or industry jargon, in just three minutes,” with a single static presentation slide.

“I tend to get a little nervous when it comes to presenting in front of an audience, so it was a great opportunity to hone my public speaking skills, as I had to talk about my research in a really simple yet effective way in just three minutes,” says Limaye. “I think it’s a very helpful exercise. I found it quite interesting.”

The goal of Limaye’s research in the Levinson Lab is to understand the allosteric regulation of the Aurora kinases, with a particular focus on protein-protein interactions between Aurora B and INCENP. “Studying these allosteric interactions will not only unravel how these proteins perform their physiological functions but also aid in the development of more effective inhibitors to target these proteins, as they are overactivated in various cancers,” adds Limaye.


Limaye said she was encouraged by how challenging this competition felt to her. With the time constraint and the format of just using one slide, it’s a different format from presentations that are usually given at scientific conferences, but that challenge made it more interesting for her.

“I tried to find analogies to explain the goal of my research. I also tried to get rid of the jargon and kept the script simple, so that my talk was easy to follow for non-experts,” recalls Limaye.

Limaye feels thrilled to win first place, and after participating in the University-wide 3-Minute Thesis competition on Nov. 11, she was awarded the second place prize.

“In the end, I just wanted to have fun and let people know about this really cool research I get to do and hopefully get them interested in science,” Limaye says.