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UTS’s Nural Cokcetin awarded runner-up at Famelab International

26 June 2017

Nural Cokcetin’s Famelab journey came to an exciting conclusion this month, after she was named joint runner-up (second place) at the 2017 Famelab International final held at the Cheltenham Science Festival.

Nural Cokcetin, Tshiamo Legoale and Nicole Phoebe Tanner at the Famelab International Final. Image by Still Moving Media.

Dr Cokcetin is a microbiologist at the ithree institute (infection, immunity and innovation) who has been investigating the antimicrobial and prebiotic properties of honey.

Her research aims to develop new treatments for infections caused by multi-drug resistant superbugs, and to use honey as a prebiotic to improve human gut health.

In early April, Dr Cokcetin competed at the British Council Australia’s NSW FameLab semi-final along with four other UTS researchers. Each competitor had just three minutes to explain their research without the aid of Powerpoint, but with the use of props. This was followed by a question session with each of the judges.

Dr Cokcetin’s talk, ‘The Sweet Treat(ment) for your Microbiome’, saw her take home runner-up and audience choice prizes, which secured her place at the national final held in Western Australia in May.

At the national final, Dr Cokcetin used a colourful interpretation of gut bacteria called “PooTube” to help explain her research, which proved to be a winner from both the judges and audience.

After winning the national competition, Dr Cokcetin headed to the Cheltenham Science Festival in the UK to compete against top science communicators from 31 countries.

She was selected as one of the international finalists along with nine others representing Hong Kong, India, Malta, Mauritius, Portugal, South Africa, Uganda and the UK.

“We all had very different backgrounds, different scientific interests and many different reasons for joining the FameLab journey—it made for some great conversations over dinner,” Dr Cokcetin said.

“It was a huge honour to be representing Australia and also to meet so many talented young scientists who are passionate about getting their messages out to the world.”

Three female scientists took home winning spots at the international final held on 8 June, 2017.

Tshiamo Legoale from South Africa was the overall winner with her presentation on how wheat can be used to mine gold. Nicole Phoebe Tanner from Hong Kong and Nural Cokcetin were both awarded joint-runner up prizes.

I came home with a whole new appreciation for all the incredible science that is going on around the world and the importance of communicating the work we do with as wide an audience as possible,” Dr Cokcetin said.

“I feel very privileged to be part of such a special group of amazing scientists.

“We’ve made some great friendships and already have plans for a FameLab alumni reunion next year.”

Watch Nural in action at the Famelab International Final here.