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PhD Researcher wins place in international ‘Falling Walls’ public engagement final

Posted on 30 September 2021

Biology PhD researcher Theo Issitt heads to Berlin in November after beating off strong competition to win a place in the final of the international Falling Walls ‘Emerging Talent’ competition.

Earlier this year, Theo won the York Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition and was a finalist in the national 3MT final. Last week he won the online ‘Falling Walls’ lab in Delft in the Netherlands, making him eligible to join up to 100 researchers from around the world who will pitch their research in three minutes to a prestigious judging panel in Berlin. Theo will attend the science summit and meet leading researchers and industry representatives from companies such as Google, Huawei and Sartorious. He will compete for the title of ‘Breakthrough Winner of the Year’. 

His research and three minute talk, ‘Breaking the Wall of Breath Diagnostics’, focuses on his research with Kelly Redeker, Will Brackenbury and Sean Sweeney who are investigating the chemical signals released by cancer cells to aid in creating diagnostic breath tests for cancer patients. The research represents a major breakthrough in the way conditions can be detected and so enable early intervention. Their work is not only discovering new diagnostic biomarkers but with the development of a new diagnostic platform they will go straight from cells to patients. Theo is the third York researcher to gain a place in the final. 

Using the metaphor of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Falling Walls Labs competition invites Bachelor and Master students, PhD candidates, postdocs, research staff and alumni to articulate how their ideas can contribute to the fall of intellectual, societal and scientific walls.

The Berlin final takes place on 7 November.

Find out more about the Falling Walls Lab event.