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### Spotlight: Lyanna Kessler, a Standout 3MT Finalist

The final competition for the 2024 Three Minute Thesis will take place on February 7th from 4 to 6 p.m. The Graduate School’s seventh annual 3MT competition challenges graduate students to condense a wealth of information into a concise three-minute presentation. This event, to be held in the University Memorial Center’s Glenn Miller Ballroom, is open to the public free of charge.

Participants are tasked with elucidating their thesis to a non-specialist audience and will be judged by a panel comprising notable figures from various university departments, including Dean Glen Krutz from the College of Arts and Sciences, Associate Dean Charles Musgraves from the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Sociology Professor Lori Hunter, and Nobel Laureate Eric Cornell from the Physics Department.

Leading up to the competition, profiles of each contestant will be showcased. Today, we introduce Lyanna Kessler, a doctoral candidate specializing in neuroimmunology—a field that merges neuroscience and immunology. Her presentation, titled “Aftershock: When COVID becomes Long COVID,” delves into the lingering effects of COVID-19.

Lyanna Kessler shares her passion for exploring how microbes, such as bacteria and viruses, impact brain function and behavior. She finds the intricate interplay between the nervous and immune systems both fascinating and full of untapped potential for discovery. Prior to her doctoral studies at CU Boulder, Lyanna worked as a research technician at the University of Pennsylvania for three years.

Driven by a desire to advance neuroscience and engage in scientific outreach, Lyanna embarked on her doctoral journey. Her research focuses on deciphering the interactions between microbes, the immune system, and the nervous system to enhance medical treatments and aid in disease recovery.

When not immersed in research, Lyanna enjoys indulging in New York City pizza, appreciating its perfect blend of sauce and cheese. A fun fact about Lyanna is her past experience as a volunteer scuba diver at the Adventure Aquarium near Philadelphia.

Participating in the 3MT competition has been a long-standing aspiration for Lyanna, tracing back to her undergraduate years. As she reflects on her journey from aspiring participant to PhD candidate, she is excited to share her research and contribute to the scientific community.