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Biomedical Sciences doctoral student Christy Eslinger, in the lab where she works at OSU Center for Health Sciences.
Biomedical Sciences doctoral student Christy Eslinger, in the lab where she works at OSU Center for Health Sciences, recently took first place in the OSU system-wide Three Minute Thesis competition.

Biomedical Sciences student turns passion of research into winning presentation

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Media Contact: Sara Plummer | Communications Coordinator | 918-561-1282 |

It’s taken Christy Eslinger 25 years to go from paramedic to award-winning doctoral research student, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Eslinger worked as a paramedic for 20 years and then decided to go back to school to become a nurse. During coursework, one of her science instructors at Tulsa Community College pulled her aside to tell her while her work was good, she could tell Eslinger was just going through the motions in class, but she saw a spark in her when she was in the lab.

“She told me ‘If you’re spending the time and money going back to school, it should be in pursuit of something you love,” she said. “I thought maybe I could take this knowledge from when I was a paramedic and take it to the cellular level.”

In 2017, Eslinger was part of TCC’s BioTech Program and spent a summer working at OSU Center for Health Sciences in the lab of Dr. Subhas Das, Biochemistry and Microbiology assistant professor. She has continued to work in Das’ lab throughout her time as an undergrad at OSU and now as a doctoral student at OSU-CHS in the School of Biomedical Sciences.

Eslinger, whose interest is molecular biology and biochemistry, has been working on research related to epigenetics, the study of how environment and behaviors can change the way genes work.

Specifically, Eslinger and others in the lab have been researching inflammatory bowel disease, which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Their research found that if they inhibit an enzyme called GLS, it can reduce pain and inflammation.

“My wife has Crohn’s so it’s very close to home for me,” she said. “Researching it gives me a huge insight into the disease that other scientists may not have if they don’t know anyone with it.”

Das encouraged Eslinger to submit her research into the Three Minute Thesis competition. Students from all disciplinary areas of OSU submitted videos where they explain their research and findings in three minutes or less.

Eslinger’s presentation was selected for the OSU system-wide 3MT final competition in November where she was awarded the first-place prize, the first time an OSU-CHS student took the top spot at the system-wide competition.

“Biomedical science research is hard to explain in just three minutes and it’s always a challenge to win,” she said. “We had a watch party here at OSU-CHS and everybody came. I was really hoping to get People’s Choice actually. When my name went up on the screen for first place, the whole room exploded. It was an incredibly empowering moment and it almost made me cry.”

Now Eslinger is preparing for the regional 3MT competition that will take place this spring.

She’s humble about the honor, but also proud of what she has accomplished in her life that has seen so many changes. Being a nontraditional student, she knows others may look up to her.

“I take on that role with pride because if I can do this, you can do this,” she said. “You have one life, you better make the most of it.”

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