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Sue Lynn’s choreographed PhD

Arabesque your way to a PhD. Now that’s a concept, but last week Garvan Institute endocrinologist and PhD student Sue Lynn Lau won the graduate student category of the American Association for the Advancement of Science “Dance your PhD” contest. Science magazine – yes, Science magazine – began the competition in 2007 in conjunction with the AASA, challenging researchers to interpret their PhD research in dance form, film the dance, and share it with the world on YouTube. Lau’s PhD examines the role of vitamin D in beta-cell function. The story is told to the Latin tunes of ‘Hot, Hot, Hot’, via Tchaikovsky’s ‘Nutcracker Suite’ and bopping to the finale with ‘Walking on Sunshine’. During the Nutcracker, Lau appears as the Sugar Plum Fairy, delivering marshmallow glucose to three beta cell dancers. Meanwhile, a fifth dancer twirls around the stage, representing the sunlight required for vitamin D biosynthesis. “I really love dancing – although I haven’t done it seriously. I did a couple of years of ballet when I was in kindergarten,” said Lau. A total of 36 dances – including solo ballet and circus spectacle – were submitted online. See Lau’s entry at www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiTFBRPFRh8

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