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Doctoral Candidate Represents UMD in International Thesis Contest

By Maryland Today Staff

Describing complex dissertation research in just three minutes for an international audience is a big enough challenge. Pravrutha Raman, a doctoral candidate in biological sciences, wants to be judged the best in the world at it.

She is the university’s representative in the International 3 Minute Thesis Contest, which includes honors of first prize, a judges’ highly commended prize and a people’s choice award.

The contest is sponsored by Universitas 21, an international network of research universities. Raman advanced to the international level after winning the university’s competition, sponsored by the Graduate School. She is competing against 18 other finalists from 12 countries.

UMD has a track record of success in the contest, winning awards in 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Raman’s research examines how exposure to external environmental factors can cause genetic changes that are inherited through many generations, by silencing genes in a tiny worm, the species known as C. elegans.

As she describes it in her video, “When humans endure starvation during periods of severe weather or during human conflict such as war, their children and grandchildren have been reported to have altered metabolism. So that saying, ‘You are what you eat’ should really be, ‘You, your children and your grandchildren are what you eat.’”

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