Biology Postdoc Wins Annual Lightning Talk Competition Title

Author: Samantha Keller

Postdoctoral researcher Tolulope “Kay” Kayode won the top prize in the second annual Postdoc Lightning Talk Competition on Thursday, September 21, during Postdoc Appreciation Week. 
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Tolulope “Kay” Kayode holds the Lightning Talk trophy
Fourteen postdoc finalists from five departments in the College of Science presented their research in "lightning talk" format—three minutes or less using a singular presentation slide. 
Kayode works in Assistant Professor Cristian Koepfli’s lab in the Department of Biological Sciences. His research focuses on infectious disease diagnosis, with a keen interest in developing innovative diagnostic tools for vector borne infectious diseases, such as malaria. His winning talk described a functional molecular laboratory—a lab in a box—deployed in high-traffic places in Africa, like markets and town squares. 
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Santiago Schnell with Matthias Y. He
"The Lightning Talk Competition was a great platform for me to present a significant aspect of my ongoing scientific research at the Koepfli Lab," Kayode said. "I'm particularly pleased to have shared our innovative molecular assay, which is useful in identifying genetic changes in malaria parasites associated with resistance to antimalarial drugs. This assay is potentially a valuable tool for molecular surveillance of drug resistance in malaria parasites, aiding in the development of more effective treatment policies, particularly in regions where malaria is endemic."
The first place prize includes $500 and a large traveling leprechaun trophy boasting bragging rights for Kayode's department and lab. 
Matthias Y. He, a postdoc in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, secured the $250 second place prize with his talk on the statistics of exoplanetary systems. He began his second year working in the lab of Assistant Professor Lauren Weiss in August, and his research involves developing models for understanding the most common types of planets in the universe that orbit around stars similar to our own sun. Using simulations of NASA's Kepler mission, He tests different models for the true distribution of planets by seeing which ones can reproduce the statistics of the observed systems after accounting for detection biases. 
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Santiago Schnell with Roman Gerasimov
Roman Gerasimov, a Notre Dame Society of Science Fellow in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, won third place for his presentation on the age of the first stars. Gerasimov joined Associate Professor Evan Kirby's lab at the beginning of the month. Gerasimov works on the analysis toolkit for the new Subaru Prime Focus Spectrograph survey that will measure the chemical abundances of thousands of old stars in the Milky Way and its neighbors.
The talks were judged by Santiago Schnell, the William K. Warren Foundation Dean of the College of Science, Mike Hildreth, Dean of the Graduate School, and Deanna Csomo Ferrell, Term Assistant Teaching Professor who teaches the Principles of Science Communication course.