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Student’s chronic wound research wins over audience

UniSA Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition winner Carla Daunton. PhD student Carla Daunton will represent the University of South Australia at the Tran-Tasman Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition next month after her presentation on chronic wound diagnostics captivated the audience at the University’s Competition on September 6.   

In just three minutes, Ms Daunton used an analogy of vegetable soup to explain how her research into chronic wounds will develop a diagnostic test that could save the Australian economy millions of dollars every year.

“Chronic wounds are injuries to the skin that fail to heal properly, typically lasting a minimum of three months,” Ms Daunton says. 

“Someone can very easily develop a wound on their foot and not even know it’s there. If the wound continues to worsen, the result can often be amputation of the limb. Currently, there is no effective diagnosis.

“I'm developing a diagnostic that will inform a clinician on whether a wound is healing properly or whether it is starting to become chronic.  The fluid inside a wound is a bit like a veggie soup, it's thick and full of many different things like proteins, some of which are found in higher amounts when the wound begins to fail.

“Hundreds of millions of people are suffering from chronic wounds around the world and they cost the Australian economy $2.6b a year.  Chronic wounds can also seriously impact on a sufferer's quality of life, affecting productivity and mobility.”

Ms Daunton was one of nine finalists to compete at the UniSA 3MT Competition, after preliminary rounds took place across the University’s divisions. PhD students were judged on their communication style and their capacity to explain their research to an intelligent, but non-specialist audience.

A judging panel, led by Director of national science hub RiAus Dr Paul Willis, awarded Ms Daunton the first prize for her outstanding ability to engage with the audience. Runner up prize went to Health Sciences student Emily Reeve, who is developing a unique patient centred de-prescribing process.

A second year PhD student based at the Mawson Institute, Ms Daunton says she is thrilled to have the chance to share her research to the wider community.  

“While I didn't expect to progress very far in the competition, I am always looking for opportunities to talk about my research in front of an audience, as it gets easier with practice,” Ms Daunton says.  

“Now I don't have to ask people 'do you want the long or the short version?' when I'm asked what I'm researching.”

Ms Daunton will head to the University of Queensland on October 11 to compete against researchers from more than 40 universities across Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and the South Pacific at the Trans-Tasman Competition.

To find out more about the 3MT Competition and watch the UniSA finalists online, click here.

Carla Daunton is on Twitter.  

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Rosanna Galvin office (08) 8302 0578 mobile 0434 603 457 email rosanna.galvin@unisa.edu.au

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