Groundbreaking Alzheimer’s research focus of University’s Three Minute Thesis winning presentation

By Katherine Cormack Posted: March 22, 2019 12:00 p.m.

Alejandra Castilla Bolanos focused her 3MT presentation on the Alzheimer’s research she has undertaken at the University of Regina.
Alejandra Castilla Bolanos focused her 3MT presentation on the Alzheimer’s research she has undertaken at the University of Regina. Photos: U of R External Relations

After taking home first place at the University of Regina’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition last night, Alejandra Castilla Bolanos will be representing the University of Regina at the 3MT Western Regional Competition at the University of Northern British Columbia on April 17. 

Pitted against a field of six other U of R graduate students, the biology  student also snagged the 3MT People’s Choice Award for “Forget What You Know about Alzheimer’s Disease,” her dynamic and engaging three-minute presentation on the complexities of her research into Alzheimer’s disease. 

Alzheimer’s disease is caused by progressive neuronal cell death. Castilla Bolanos’ research in Dr. Josef


Alejandra Castilla Bolanos,
with Dr. Josef Buttegieg
in his lab.

Buttegieg’s lab discovered that certain types of A-beta can neutralize neuronal electrical activity, causing some cells to recover instead of being damaged. Promising research in the search for a cure. 

There are currently more than half a million Canadians living with dementia–with 25,000 new cases diagnosed each year. By 2031, that number is expected to reach 937,000, an increase by 66 per cent. 

The 3MT is a university-wide competition for graduate students in which participants present their research and its wider impact in three minutes or less to a panel of non-specialist judges. The challenge is to present complex research in an accessible and compelling way, with the assistance of only one static slide. Created by Professor Alan Lawson at the University of Queensland, Australia, in 2008, the 3MT celebrates exciting and innovative graduate student research while promoting communication, public speaking, and storytelling skills. Today, more than 600 universities and institutions in 65 countries host annual 3MT competitions. 

“3MT helps graduate students develop their abilities to effectively communicate their research findings and implications, while also providing students with the opportunity to share their exciting research with the larger community,” says Kelsey Vig, vice president of external relations for the University of Regina’s Graduate Students Association. 

Judges at last night’s 3MT competition were: Dr. Sadra Abedinzadeh PhD'14, CTO of Carma Automotive Inc. and Beats Union Inc.; Deanna Bergbusch, Assistant Deputy Minister, Finance, Government of Saskatchewan; Chief Cadmus Delorme, Cowessess First Nation CCE'11, CA'11, CHTGEM'12, DAdmin'12, BAdmin'13, MPA'16; Valerie Sluth, RBC Woman Executive in Residence at the Faculty of Business Administration and CEO of Praxis Consulting; and, Dr. Barbara Young, Councillor (Ward 1), City of Regina. 

If successful on April 17, Castilla Bolanos and three other finalists from the Western Region will go on to compete against eight other graduate students from across the country–five from the Ontario Region and three from the Eastern Region– at the 3MT National Competition on June 3, 2019. 


Alzheimer’s Research at the U of R” Jan 2019 video YouTube