GMIT researcher wins first place at National #Thesis in 3 Final

Wednesday, November 18, 2015 Press Office
Press Release

Topic on how stroke can be caused by blood clots that form in the hearts of people with Atrial Fibrillation

Fiona Malone, a postgrad researcher in GMIT’s Medical Technology Research Centre, GMedTech, has won overall first prize at the 2015 National Thesis in 3 Final, held in the Sugar Club, Dublin, recently.


Students from all over Ireland presented their masters or doctoral research in the Thesis in 3 format whereby they communicated their work in a series of concise, rapidly-paced talks consisting of three slides of exactly one minute each, to a panel of judges in front of an audience.

Fiona’s presentation was titled 'Stroke: are we only just a heartbeat away’. She used a character called ‘Bob’ to tell the story of her research. Speaking about her win, she says: "It was the first time that GMIT has ever been involved in this national competition and we've managed to scoop the top prize. I'm over the moon. My talk was about how a stroke can be caused by blood clots that form in the heart of people with Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), a type of irregular heartbeat.” 

"This is the most common heartbeat irregularity across the globe and these blood clots can account for up to 30% of all strokes. I introduced the topic to the audience with a character named Bob, a typical Irish man who finds one day that he is experiencing AFib. I then discussed how this could lead to the fatal condition of stroke.”


"This topic is the core work of my PhD, which concerns the haemodynamic factors that influence stroke occurrence. My aim is to simulate the whole stroke scenario from clot formation to stroke occurrence."


Thesis in 3 (Tin3) is a highlight of the science communications calendar, showcasing some of the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) research work happening in Ireland today. Hosted by Rick O’Shea, RTÉ 2fm, the event is aimed at the general public and creates an open forum for anyone to get an insight into the world class research being carried out in Ireland today.


21 postgraduate students excelled in describing their cutting edge research to a packed house of 250 people and to the judging panel consisting of Malcom Byrne from the Higher Education Authority (HEA), journalist Claire O’Connell and Margie McCarthy from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI).


“Fiona Malone’s talk engaged all and gave everyone in the audience an appreciation of her own work and what impact it will have in the wider community. This was all done with a context, clarity and charisma, the hallmarks of Tin3”, says Brendan Smith, Galway co-ordinator of the national competition.


GMedTech Centre leader, Dr Eugene McCarthy, says: “GMedTech has an internationally recognised research programme in the area of neurovascular disease which Fiona has contributed significantly to through her PhD studies. To win the National Thesis in 3 Final is a wonderful achievement for Fiona and we are delighted to be part of her success at GMIT. Fiona’s co-supervisors are Dr Liam Morris, Dr Patrick Delassus and Dr Paul Fahy, GMIT MedTech Centre.”


Fiona Malone, from Piltown, Co Kilkenny, completed her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Limerick prior to commencing her postgraduate studies in GMIT. She is a past pupil of Scoil Mhuire Secondary School in Carrick on Suir, Co Tipperary.


Other winners on the night included Niamh Kavanagh (Tyndall Institute) and Clíodhna O’Connor (UCD) with Martin O’Reilly (Insight) picking up the audience choice prize.


The event was recorded with edited videos appearing shortly on the Thesis in 3 YouTube channel. For further information please visit the website:


The National Thesis in 3 Final is a precursor to Science Week. Science enthusiasts can look forward to other science, technology, engineering and maths-related events running until 16 November. Visit to find events near you. Connect on Twitter @ScienceWeek and Facebook using the hashtag #Scienceweek to join in the conversation.


For further information about GMIT’s GMedTech Centre, please visit: