PhD contest – March 26th, 2015

The TEDxGhent team would like to invite you to the annual PhD contest; a platform to bring exciting ideas from doctoral students and post-doctoral researchers to a broader audience. The winner of the contest will be granted a talk on the stage of the TEDxGhent main conference in June, and will receive professional speaker coaching to prepare for the event.

We have some exciting research prepped for you. We’ll try to answer questions like ‘Is it possible to explain chemistry to everyone?’, ‘Can suicidal messages be detected by computers?’, ‘Can the air we breath in our home do more harm than good?’, …

Where? Faculty of Bioscience Engineering (room Oehoe (E1.002), blok E),  Coupure Links 653, Ghent
When? March 26th, from 7.00pm until 10.00pm (doors open at 6.30pm)
Tickets? Free, but you need to reserve a seat

Are you ready to be amazed by some groundbreaking thinking by the masterminds of Ghent? In that case, join us for an inspiring evening where you’ll be informed about the latest findings in all kinds of research. On March 26th, several contestants will present their research and compete for a prestigious spot on the TEDxGhent main stage in June.

At TEDxGhent, we do not think of our audience as passive listeners. That’s why we give you the opportunity to weigh in on who gets a spot on our main stage.

So come to the PhD contest and send your favorite researcher as a speaker to TEDxGhent main conference!

Violet Atieno Oloibiri from the Department of Industrial Biological Sciences believes that her research on advanced treatment of landfill leachate can revolutionize the chemical industry. She will talk about the techniques, which remove harmful substances from landfill leachate and are even able to recover important nutrients that can be reutilized in production of fertilizers.

Jonas Anseeuw from Information Technology works on advanced applications in eHealth. As part of his research he has developed a computer program that aims to diminish fall incidents among elderly people. He will explain how this new technology will help elderly people to live longer independently.

Bruno Levecke is a post-doc researcher at the Department of Virology, Parasitology and Immunology. He is looking for new alternative ways of combatting parasites, worms that infect 25% of human population. He will challenge the existing drugs to treat this medical issue, and will prove that such worm-digesting fruits as papaya have defense mechanism to kill worms, and thus enable researchers to develop an alternative drug to control worms in humans.

Jolien De Waele works at the Laboratory of Chemical Technology. On the stage she will challenge a general impression that chemistry is difficult to understand and with the example of her research will try to prove that it is possible to explain chemistry to everyone. If ‘catalyst particle size and reactor optimization for industrial scale ethanol dehydrogenation’ sounds too complicated for you, after Jolien’s presentation it will be as simple as twice two makes four.

Michaël Van Damme from the Department of Personnel Management, Work and Organizational Psychology, is on a mission to get qualitative ideas out in the open. Having worked as an improviser and stand-up comedian, he decided to combine his own experience with insights from scientific research on the use of humor and charisma to teach people how to communicate their ideas effectively. He calls it ‘comedycation.’

In his PhD within the Department of Translation, Interpreting and Communication, Bart Desmet investigates whether suicidal messages could be detected using text analysis and machine learning, as a support system for suicide prevention workers. The idea behind his research is to allow suicide prevention workers to notice people in need, in case their peers fail to recognize the symptoms or respond to them.

Cristina Resetco from the Department of Organic and Macromolecular Chemistry is convinced that air we breathe at home can do us more harm than good. And this is all because of chemicals that are present in our homes and at workplaces. So, she developed a “SMART” coating, which can be applied on wooden surfaces at our homes, and it will trap harmful chemicals.

Vishvas Pandey is a researcher at Physics and Astronomy. He will wide open our eyes to one of the biggest mysteries in understanding the universe – neutrinos. If you’ve never heard of neutrinos before, this is the time for you to learn.

Laurine Burdorf from the NIOZ Netherlands’ Yerseke Ecosystem Studies will introduce her research on cable bacteria. Yes, they do exist and were discovered in 2010. Her studies show that these cable bacteria are quite abundant and widespread in our near vicinity, but have always been overlooked.

Pieter Bonte will challenge the audience with the opposing arguments: authenticity versus doping, and natural talent versus integrated artifice. His main message is that “as a society, we should wake up to the strong undercurrent of ‘talentocratic’ thinking, and think again about how we demonize for instance ‘doping sinners’.”

Eliane Deschrijver from Experimental Psychology will lead us through the mystery of our mind and spread some light on how human brain functions in social situations, and also in what might go wrong in the brain of individuals with autism.