Centre for Cancer Biomarkers CCBIO

Brilliant performance at Forsker Grand Prix

Forsker Grand Prix took place in Bergen September 27, where nine young researchers were competing for Best Presenter, getting only four minutes to convey their research in front of an audience and three judges. Among the nine was CCBIO's and the Department of Clinical Science's PhD Candidate Christiane Helgestad Gjerde.

Christiane on stage, with a petridish in her hand.
CCBIO, Luka Tandaric

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Although Christiane did a brilliant job and got a full score from one of the judges, the margins were so slim, and the winner was Emilie Hernes Vereide from the Institute of Marine Research, presenting her research on how anthropogenic noise in the ocean affect animal plankton. 

Growing organoids for ovarian cancer research

Christiane's supervisors Line BjørgeEmmet McCormack and Katrin Kleinmanns were nevertheless immensely proud of their PhD candidate. She presented her project on the development of better preclinical models for ovarian cancer through the establishment, characterization and appliation of an organoid platform. She has grown cancer cells on peritoneum from pigs, together with immune cells and supporting cells that are normally found in cancerous tumors. The peritoneum is like a membrane around the organs in the abdomen, where ovarian cancer tend to spread to. 

A unique learning experience

"Forsker Grand Prix has been a great learning experience, and I strongly recommend it to other PhD candidates," Christiane says.

"In the process, I have been challenged and been out of my comfort zone several times – for example when we did an exercise with improv theatre. I have no previous stage experience, so standing alone on stage in front of this many people was an experience in itself. It was challenging, but it has been very beneficial for gaining confidence in my presentation skills. We also worked a lot on how to tell a good story. I have learned how to grab the attention of the listener from the start, how to focus on the important and remove details that do not contribute to the story, and how to get a message across. I was lucky enough to work closely with two coaches with expertise in communication and dissemination, and a theater coach who knows all about performing on stage," Christiane explains.

"It was great fun to "bring" the audience into the lab and show them how we make our mini-tumors that we use to test new treatments for ovarian cancer. I will certainly take this experience with me further in my career. In addition, I have met a very nice group of fellows with whom I hope to stay in touch with in the future," she concludes.

Congratulations on a job well done!

Read about all the nine candidates here.