Lauren Woodie, 2017 Three-Minute Thesis Winner

Graduate student Lauren Woodie, Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Hospitality Management, was named First Place winner of Auburn University’s 2017 Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition on November 16.

Woodie’s 3MT project, Time-restricted feeding of the Western-diet and its affect on obesity, metabolic dysfunction and cognitive impairment, was a combination of work by previous graduate students and her interest in diet-induced memory deficits. The original project focused on the impact time-restricted feeding (TRF) had on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which was a shorter study. During her first year at Auburn, Woodie did a lab rotation with Dr. Vishnu Suppiramaniam where she studied behavior and hippocampal electrophysiology. She and her advisor, Dr. Michael Greene, then combined his interest in TRF with her interest in how diet affects the brain which led to her 3MT project. Woodie spoke on the impact of time-restricted feeding.

Lauren Woodie presenting her 3MT speech

She uses mice to conduct various behavioral and metabolic tests. The mice live in metabolic cages for three days. These cages measure everything the mice do every 7 seconds. This allows her to see how much they eat, breathe, and move as well as whether their bodies are burning fats or carbs at a particular time.


“A cool tidbit about my mice is that they were super sweet little guys,” said Woodie.

Dean George Flowers presents Lauren Woodie with First Place Award for the 2017 3MT competition

She wanted them to be calm for behavioral tasks which meant getting them accustomed to her presence so she would often take them out of the cage to rub their heads and even talk to them. By the end of the experiment, they would calmly sit in her hand and observe the area.

Woodie believes she had some of the most well behaved mice around.

McNair Scholars Group

We enjoyed having the McNair Scholars Group from Southern Mississippi University visit to learn about graduate education at Auburn University.

“The McNair Scholars Program is a federal TRIO program funded at 151 institutions across the United States and Puerto Rico by the U.S. Department of Education. It is designed to prepare undergraduate students for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities. McNair participants are either first-generation college students with financial need, or members of a group that is traditionally underrepresented in graduate education and have demonstrated strong academic potential. The goal of the McNair Scholars Program is to increase graduate degree awards for students from underrepresented segments of society.” – McNair Scholars Program website


McNair Scholars in front of the Auburn University sign

New Awards

We are pleased to announce two new graduate awards. The Hamilton Graduate Awards and The Williams Graduate Awards are now available and nominations are being accepted until 4:45 p.m. August 1, 2017.

The Hamilton Graduate Awards have been established through the Auburn University Foundation by Dr. Ian Hamilton and Mrs. Stacey Hamilton.  The Graduate School will award one Hamilton Award in the amount of $1,000, for the 2017-2018 academic year.  Selection is based on academic and professional promise.

The Williams Graduate Awards have been established through the Auburn University Foundation by Colonel (ret.) Garland H. Williams and Kathleen P. Williams.  The Graduate School will award up to four Williams Awards in the amount of $1,000, for the 2017-2018 academic year.  Selection is based on academic and professional promise.

For more information on these awards, please click here.



Give Today for Tiger Giving Day 2017

Tiger Giving Day is a 24-hour fundraising event highlighting more than 20 projects from the schools and colleges around campus, including the Future Scholars Summer Research Bridge Program.

The Graduate School’s Tiger Giving Day goal is to raise 9 thousand dollars in support of adding three new Science, Engineering, Technology or Math participants to the Future Scholars Summer Research Bridge Program.

The Future Scholars Summer Research Bridge Program brings the best and the brightest prospective graduate students from historically black college and universities (HBCUs) around the nation to campus to experience “a day in the life of an Auburn University graduate student.” The program brings traditionally underrepresented students to campus over the summer to experience what it is like to be a graduate student at Auburn University, and a patron of the Auburn community.

This six-week program, gives participants the opportunity to:
• Live in a campus residential hall
• Receive a faculty mentor who gives them hands-on experience research opportunities
• Build relationships with faculty, staff and other students
• Receive professional development training
• Learn about the Auburn community and what it has to offer
• Begin to perceive an Auburn graduate education as a reality for their lives
Many of the program participants did not see graduate school as an option, or have exposure to a large university prior to this educational experience. Through The Future Scholars Summer Research Program, we hope to recruit these top students to become members of the Auburn family.

Don’t want to wait till February 21st? You don’t have to!

Visit and give online today! Every dollar matters, so help change the lives of three prospective graduate students now!

Student wins national Science as Art competition with Voldemort image

Media Contact: Chris Anthony,, 334.844.3447

Armin VahidMohammadi depiction of an engineered nanomaterial

Auburn Engineering graduate student Armin VahidMohammadi won first place in a national research organization’s Science as Art competition for his depiction of an engineered nanomaterial as a character from the “Harry Potter” movie series.

VahidMohammadi, a doctoral student in materials engineering, created a digitally enhanced image of his research that bears a resemblance to Lord Voldemort, the villain in the “Harry Potter” series. After submitting the image for consideration to the Materials Research Society’s Science as Art competition, he won first place out of 168 submissions. The award comes with a $400 cash prize.

“I am honored to have my work showcased and recognized by such a prestigious organization,” VahidMohammadi said. “It was exciting that the competition allowed me to connect materials science with popular culture in a way that the general public can appreciate.”

Held since 2006, the Science as Art competition offers materials engineers and students the opportunity to transform their research into images renowned for their aesthetic qualities.

Using a scanning electron microscope, VahidMohammadi was examining particles of an engineered nanomaterial when he noticed a particular particle that resembled Lord Voldemort. He colorized the image and digitally enhanced it by adding eyes and teeth.

The particle pictured is known as Ti2C, which is a member of a family of two-dimensional, layered materials called MXenes. Ti2C has a wide array of applications, including as electrode materials for batteries and supercapacitors. The particle shown in the image is five microns in length, or roughly 10 times smaller than the width of a human hair.

A native of Iran, VahidMohammadi has studied at Auburn since 2015. He is advised by Majid Beidaghi, assistant professor of materials engineering in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Sitters for Service

The Graduate Student Council has introduced a new service for parents who are attending Graduate School at Auburn University. Tiger Sitter Service is a volunteer based initiative matching Auburn University undergraduate student babysitters with Auburn University graduate student parents. No money is exchanged for the services. Sitters will receive community service hour recognition through Auburn University for the time they babysit within the program. The Tiger Sitter Service will run as a trial this semester, with 7-15 undergraduates volunteering as sitters and 5-7 graduate families selected from a lotto. Applications for sitters and families are due by 5:00 p.m. Thursday, February 2. Further information and updates will be published to the Tiger Sitter Service page on AUinvolve.

3 Minute Thesis Winner

The 3MT is an academic competition that challenges graduate students to describe their research within three minutes, with one static slide, to a general audience. 3MT celebrates the discoveries made by research students and encourages their skill in communicating the importance of research to the broader community.

Auburn University’s first place 3MT winner was Madison Chandler from Drug Discovery and Development. Madison presented her research on bridging the divide between cancer genetics and the under-served in Alabama.