THE MIA region is known for producing some of the world’s best rice and it has gotten one university student thinking.
With more and more people now thinking about what they are putting into their bodies, Charles Sturt University PhD student Michelle Toutounji has asked “is white rice naughty or nice”?
Ms Toutounji explored that very question during the recent CSU three-minute thesis (3MT) event in Wagga.
Eight PhD students took part in the 3MT final at Wagga and had to describe their research within three minutes to a general audience.
The competition celebrated the discoveries made by CSU’s research students and develops their skills in communicating the importance and value of their research to the broader community.
Ms Toutounji was able to capture the attention of the judges to take out the final, also winning the people’s choice award for her explanation of her research to alter the starch structure in white rice, using heat and pressure treatments, to produce a diabetic friendly product.
“It was challenging to reduce her thesis into a three minute speech and one PowerPoint slide, but that was part of the fun,” she said.
“I’m delighted to have won and I can’t wait to compete and share my research at the Asia-Pacific 3MT competition in September in Brisbane.”
The judges praised Ms Toutounji for being able to make complex research interesting and easy to understand.
Deputy vice chancellor of research, development and industry, Professor Mary Kelly Ms Toutounji was a great ambassador for CSU.
“I would like to acknowledge the efforts of all our research students who competed in the heats and final this year,” she said.
“It’s excellent to see CSU students showcasing the wide variety of research we do to the world.”
The runner-up in the CSU competition was also related to rice.
Esther Callcott was a close second for her three-minute thesis about the potential health benefits of coloured rice in combating obesity, proving once again rice is nice.
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