The winners of this year’s OU Postgraduate Research Student Poster competition, which celebrates research by OU PhD and EdD students, are:
Ester Pascual-Baixauli, Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics was awarded first prize for her poster on Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH), also called Pseudotumor Cerebri, which is a rare disease prevalent in obese women of child-bearing age.
It is characterised by high pressure in the brain for no obvious reason. The patient will show serious symptoms such as severe headaches and visual problems, which can drastically decrease their quality of life. For now, the only definitive treatment is weight loss, which can take several weeks before any improvement in the patient can be seen.
Ester’s aim is to understand the molecular reasons behind the increase of intracranial pressure related to a high fat diet in females. Understanding the molecular and cellular changes that lead to this increase of pressure would open new opportunities to find targets for novel and efficient therapies.
Winning the poster competition has been very encouraging for my career. I’m happy to be able to communicate my research to the general public in a way they can understand and to share my passion with them.
Chris Malliband, Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics was awarded runner-up for his poster on mapping the planet Mercury and why it is interesting.
Jade Levell, Faculty of Wellbeing, Education & Language Studies was awarded the prize for both the winning research summary and people’s choice poster online for a research project which focuses on domestic violence.
Jade’s project is called: The Road Home Study, which focuses on the lives of young men who have experienced domestic violence and abuse (DVA) in childhood and become involved with gangs. It is a mixed method narrative research project with two main data collection streams. The first is life-story interviews (Plummer, 2001) within which men are asked to bring in three music tracks to assist them in telling their story. Borrowing from BBC’s Desert Island Discs, music is used in this way to help difficult stories to be told and to give another dimension to the interviews. Secondly, ex-gang involved peer mentors will be invited to a group using Memory Work (Haug, 1999), where collective experiences and memories are shared and analysed together in a small group setting. This research aims to help increase understanding and harvest knowledge of how agencies can support these young men better.
I am so honoured to have won two prizes in the competition, both the research summary prize and the people’s choice poster competition. It has been so great to think about how to communicate my research to a wider audience and to get positive feedback on my work. Being part of the poster presentation day was a great chance to meet fellow students and see the other exciting work happening from fellow students at the OU!
Stacy Phillips, Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, won the people’s choice multimedia (online) prize for her lego stop motion film 'Biography of a Mountain' explaining her project on: How to melt a mountain: Investigating kyanite granites in the Himalaya.
Stacy investigates how mountains are formed, trying to understand the processes that cause their uplift and what happens to rocks when they get caught up during mountain building. She works on rocks from Bhutan, a country in the Eastern Himalaya.
If you’re going to look at mountains, you may as well look at the greatest mountain range on earth today!
Understanding fundamental processes such as mountain building underpins a range of important geological concepts. The implications of her work include understanding where resources such as critical metals that are crucial to modern technologies can be found, gaining better understanding of fault plane movement and earthquakes, and learning about how the solid crust of our earth is formed and how it changes over time.
Commenting on the overall standard of entries, one of the judges, Emily Yossarian, Senior Manager, Graduate School Network, said: “OU research students are skilled communicators and that came across in their standalone posters and their confident presentations to the judges. I was also really pleased to see students experimenting with alternative ways to communicate fascinating ideas in the multimedia online strand of the competition. My overall impression from all competition categories was of an inspired and inspiring community of researchers!”
Highly commended students are: Melissa Mirino, Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, Laura Tan, Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET), and Pinsuda Srisontisuk, CREET.