Graduate & Professional Studies

Stories of Graduate Student Success: Allison Scarbrough, doctoral student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering

Allison Scarbrough, a current doctoral student in the joint Biomedical Engineering program at Marquette University and the Medical College of Wisconsin, was a finalist in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition that was held on Friday, Feb. 23, in the Weasler Auditorium.

The 3MT is a global research competition that challenges participants to effectively explain their research in three minutes or less to a non-specialist audience. Participants have the opportunity to win prizes and represent Marquette University at the regional competition.

Scarbrough’s 3MT presentation was titled, “Embracing Imperfection: Making Reliable Clinical Decisions with Messy Data.” Scarbrough has been researching why some promising medical projects never make it into a “real life” hospital setting. Her research investigates why this happens and what can be done to enhance the translation of research projects into real diagnostic and treatment options.

When asked why she chose to participate in the 3MT Competition, Scarbrough noted, “researchers often get ‘siloed’ in their niche, where the audience of their research are other researchers. However, it’s so important to keep the public informed about what is happening in the laboratories that innovate healthcare.” Scarbrough’s goal is to convince other researchers to think about the end use case of their research projects early on, and to develop a list of specific suggestions researchers can utilize to give their projects a better chance of turning into clinical interventions.

In addition to being a finalist at 3MT, Scarbrough was honored by the Graduate School in 2020 with a Teaching Excellence Award for her work as a teaching assistant in a laboratory class. Scarbrough has also presented her work at international conferences, participated as a guest lecturer at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, and recently published an article in the Journal of Biomedical Optics.

When Scarbrough is not engaged in research, she enjoys spending her free time reading, writing, or hiking with her husband and dog.

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