2024 Postdoc Research Slam

The 2024 Postdoc Research Slam

This year's slam took place on Tuesday, February 13.

Present your Research and Win!

The Postdoctoral Scholar Office invites all current postdoctoral scholars to participate in the 5th annual Postdoc Research Slam. Practice your communication skills and compete for great prizes!

Each competitor will have the opportunity to deliver a three-minute thesis (3MT) presentation. Judges will score based on communication style, comprehension, and engagement.

The Postdoc Research Slam will be held in February of 2024.

This year's prizes

Monetary research prizes:

  • First Place: $1,000
  • Second Place: $750
  • Third Place: $500
  • People's Choice: $300

Contest Timeline

Call for Abstracts

Submit a 250-300 word lay abstract about your research via the webform. Abstracts should be in the tone of a pitch-style presentation, and not too technical.

November 1 - 21, 2023

Abstract Feedback Sessions

Get feedback on your written abstract for plain language and communicating research impact from professional communicators.

November 14, 2023
12 - 2 PM

Coaching Sessions

Up to 12 selected participants will book a time to practice their presentation in a 20-minute, one-on-one coaching session.

January 25, 2024 

9 AM - 12 PM

Live Presentations and Judging

Finalists will present in front of a live audience!

February 13, 2024 

2:30 PM - 5 PM 

The abstract reviewers consider the following:

  1. Accessibility: How well are the technical aspects of the research conveyed to a general audience (e.g. avoidance of jargon and acronyms, too focused on the details of the method or research design)?
  2. Impact and benefit: Does the abstract clearly establish the overall impact, significance, novelty and/or benefits of the research to the field and broader society?
  3. Interest: Does the abstract effectively convey a sense of excitement or passion for knowledge generation? Does this enthusiasm resonate with the audience?
  4. Clarity: Is the central problem and its proposed solution clear, or is it lacking a specific focus? Does the applicant ‘tell a story’ about their research?
  • All participants must be current postdoctoral scholars at the University of Calgary
  • This event is for individual competitors. No pairs or groups will be permitted
  • single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description, the slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration). Images used in the slide must be your own, or you must have permission from the owner of the photo(s) and provide proper credit(s).
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment, laser pointers or note cards) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum.
  • Presentations that go over 3 minutes will have marks deducted from scoring.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  • Presentations must be based on research directly related to the postdoctoral scholar’s research.
  • Presentations are to commence from the stage.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

Each of the three judging criteria has equal weight. Note that each criterion has an emphasis on the audience.

  1. Communication style:

    • Was the research topic and its significance communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
    • Did the speaker use sufficient eye contact and vocal range, maintain a steady pace, and a confident stance?
    • Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology, and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
    • Did the speaker spend the right amount of time on each element of their presentation - or did they elaborate for too long or were they rushed?
    • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance, rather than detract, from their presentation - was it clear, legible, and concise?
  2. Comprehension:

    • Did the presentation help the audience understand the research?
    • Did the presenter clearly outline the nature and aims of the research?
    • Was the significance of the presenter's research clearly outlined?
    • Did the presentation follow a logical sequence?
  3. Engagement:

    • Did the presentation make the audience want to know more?
    • Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or 'dumb-down' the research?
    • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research?
    • Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience's attention?
    • Did the presentation make me want to know more about the speaker's research?

Dr. Anna Niedzwiecka

Faculty of Science
Department of Chemistry

A Future for Sustainable Wastewater Purification

Dr. Jordan Lee

​​​​​Cumming School of Medicine
Department of Physiology & Pharmacology

Electrical stimulation improves blood pressure stability after spinal cord injury

Dr. Sara Hassanpour Tamrin

Schulich School of Engineering
Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering

Exosomes: Revolutionizing Early Cancer Detection for a Brighter Tomorrow

Dr. Marissa Nivison

Faculty of Arts
Department of Psychology

Was Freud right all along? Does childhood really shape who we are as adults? 

Dr. Mengchi Ai

Schulich School of Engineering
Department of Geomatics Engineering

Discovering Yourself in the City-Strategies for Navigating Downtown When Your GPS Fails You

Dr. Celeste Labedz

Faculty of Science
Department of Earth, Energy & Environment

An ear to the ground: how seismology can improve early warning for glacial floods

Dr. Gabriel Knott-Fayle

Werklund School of Education

Learning to be Boys: Addressing Gender‐Based Violence In and Through Education

Dr. Ana Watson

Faculty of Arts
Department of Political Science

Pluralism in Canada’s low-carbon future: Assessing the Social Acceptance of Carbon Dioxide Removal Technologies

Dr. Liz Paola Noguera Zayas

Faculty of Veterinary Medicine

Can we prevent the next pandemic?

Dr. Mona Parizadeh

Cumming School of Medicine
Department of Physiology & Pharmacology

Unraveling Rural Microbiome Narratives through Early-life Temporal Dynamics

Dr. David Borkenhagen

Cumming School of Medicine
Department of Psychiatry

Planet Youth Calgary: Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Calgary's Youth

Dr. Nicole Cho

Cumming School of Medicine
Department of Critical Care Medicine

Harnessing the gut microbiota as immunotherapy to prevent infections in the ICU


Group photo of the 2023 Postdoc Research Slam finalists.

2023 Postdoc Research Slam Finalists

Back row, from left: Sedigheh Mahdavi, Connor McDougall, Meaghan Perdue, Patrick Sipila, Penny Pexman, William Ghali, vice-president (research), Kenzie Friesen, Kaue Duarte Tartarotti Nepomuceno and Youssef Allami. Front row, from left: Daniel Comadurán Márquez, Maryam Ghahremani, Mohammad Rehan, Xiao Yang Fang (Yangyang) and Michelle Hawks.

Read UToday Story

1st Place (2023)

1st Place Winner Michelle Hawks stands with William Ghali and Penny Pexman at the 2023 Postdoc Research Slam.

Dr. Michelle Hawks

Werklund School of Education

Are past math classes haunting us? Using history to explore ideas of intelligence in math

2nd Place

2nd Place Winner Daniel Comaduran Marquez stands with William Ghali and Penny Pexman at the 2023 Postdoc Research Slam.

Dr. Daniel Comaduran Marquez 

Cumming School of Medicine

Brain-controlled devices for playing sports

3rd Place

3rd Place Winner Meaghan Perdue stands with William Ghali and Penny Pexman at the 2023 Postdoc Research Slam.

Dr. Meaghan Perdue

Cumming School of Medicine

Reading isn't as easy as A-B-C: Looking into the brain to understand reading disability

Past Competitors

1st Place
Dr. Michelle Hawks:
 Are past math classes haunting us? Using history to explore ideas of intelligence in math

2nd Place
Dr. Daniel Comaduran Marquez
: Brain-controlled devices for playing sports

3rd Place
Dr. Meaghan Perdue: 
Reading isn't as easy as A-B-C: Looking into the brain to understand reading disability
 

Other Finalists:
 

Dr. Youssef Allami: Do predictors of remission from a gambling disorder apply equally to everyone?

Dr. Kaue Duarte Tartarotti Nepomuceno: Detecting Signs of Dementia sooner using Artificial Intelligence

Dr. Xiao Yang Fang (Yangyang): Radical Mental Health Doulas: A New Approach to Care

Dr. Kenzie Friesen: It’s common sense!: Sensors in mouthguards can be used to sense risk factors of concussion

Dr. Maryam Ghahremani: Mild behavioural impairment (MBI) in early-stage dementia

Dr. Sedigheh Mahdavi: Application of Cattle Manure to Make Oil Production More Sustainable in Alberta?

Dr. Connor McDougall: Optimizing Medical Imaging in Stroke Care

Dr. Mohammad Rehan: Construction of Real Human Lung 3D Tissue in Lab to Study Lung Diseases

Dr. Patrick Sipila: Discovery of drug resistance-informed treatment approach for pediatric malignancies

1st Place: Cameron Semper, Cumming School of Medicine, Producing Meat from Cell Cultures: Helping to Reduce Costs in the Field of Cellular Agriculture.

2nd Place: Catherine Hume, Cumming School of Medicine, Investigating ‘The Munchies’; How Does Cannabis Use Alter Our Eating Habits?

3rd Place (tie):

People’s Choice: Deepika Dogra, Cumming School of Medicine, A Precision Medicine Approach to Modelling a Rare Pediatric Eepilepsy

Watch all of the videos here.

Francina Agosti: Sensory neurons at the rescue against infection

Bruna Araujo David: Maternal serum prevents newborn death by Escherichia coli infection

Sofia Backaberg: The way you move matters - now and later

Raquel Farias Franyutti: Integrating lung function and laboratory measurements to identify COVID-19 disease categories in the intensive care unit

Simona Denise Frederiksen: Rare Diseases have Many Faces: The Road to Diagnostic Success

Leigh Gabel: Skeletons on a mission: understanding bone loss on long-duration spaceflight (2nd Place Winner)

Michèle L. Hébert: Solving the Maze: Understanding the Journey and Opening Doors for Children with Disabilities and Their Family

Steven Hersch: Fighting fire with fire to kill antibiotic resistant bacteria

Catherine Hume: Is having 'the munchies' bad for our health?

Matthew Josephson: Hot or Cold? Understanding how organisms can live in a wide range of temperatures

Tiffany Prete: Surviving Colonization in Photographs (1st Place Winner)

Anu Räisänen: Young people with old knees: We KNEE-d to prevent osteoarthritis after a knee injury

Mostafa Salari: Social Distancing in passengers seat assignment

Anne-Marieke Smid: Modern dairy farming: to graze or not to graze? (3rd Place Winner)

Renata Kruger: A bike ride to thrive in assisted living care.

Liz Baker, Faculty of Social Work: Preventing Dating Violence on College Campuses

Tiffany Bell, Cumming School of Medicine: I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it: Understanding brain hyperexcitability in childhood migraine

Lauren Benson, Faculty of Kinesiology: Sport Injury Prevention with Wearable Technology

Jaime Colmenares, Faculty of Science: Once upon a time, I met Isotopes

Mahdad Eghbalian, Schulich School of Engineering: A novel multiscale model of hydraulic fracturing in tight rocks

Raquel Farias Franyutti, Cumming School of Medicine: The neuro-immune axis in the lung: understanding how our nerves communicate with our immune cells to protect us from infection (3rd Place Winner)

Eli Kinney-Lang, Cumming School of Medicine: Imagine that! Using Brain-Computer Interfaces and Imagined Sign Language to Enable Children with Complex Communication Needs (2nd Place Winner)

Brae Anne McArthur, Faculty of Arts: Identifying the "Digital Tipping Point": Understanding the Relation between Screen Time and Child Development (1st Place Winner)

Zahra Shakeri Hossein Abad, Cumming School of Medicine: A novel artificial intelligence system to protect children from unhealthy food and brand marketing in the digital age

Maria Stietz, Veterinary Medicine: Know your enemy

Ivana Vranjes, Haskayne School of Business:  #MeToo - But don't tell anyone…

Chunyang Yu, Schulich School of Engineering: Navigation for Pedestrians and Autonomous Vehicles