Busy brain bees race to finals

28 Feb 2010

Ten of the brainiest high school students from across Australia and New Zealand will fight it out for the title of 2010 Brain Bee Champion at the national finals in Sydney this weekend.

The event marks the pinnacle of the Australia – New Zealand Brain Bee Challenge (ABBC) and involves students who have already tussled to the top of the state league with a series of tough neuroscience questions.

In the national finals they will complete a brain-teasing anatomy exam and a doctor-patient diagnosis test as well as a quiz in front of a live audience on their knowledge from a University-level neuroscience textbook.

The Australian and New Zealand national winners will then compete at the International Brain Bee Challenge, to be held in California in August.

ABBC organiser and Queensland Brain Institute neuroscientist Professor Linda Richards said the competition provided students with an opportunity to learn about the brain, and neurological and mental illnesses in detail.

“Students competing at the national level have received coaching from neuroscientists in each state and territory, as well as work experience in neuroscience laboratories. The experience helps them to realise their potential by pushing them to expand their knowledge in one of the most fascinating areas of science,” Professor Richards said.

“Smart students like to be challenged and this competition allows them to go further than they normally would to explore an area of science. The brain is an incredibly interesting organ, controlling everything about our bodies as well as storing our memories, thoughts and our ability to plan for the future. In essence, your brain is who you are as an individual.”

The Brain Bee Challenge has quickly become an integral event on the neuroscience calendar, as it introduces a wide cross-section of teenagers to the field while nurturing the next generation of Australian researchers.

“Neurological and mental illnesses account for a huge proportion of the burden of disease in our community,” Professor Richards said.

“Australia needs its best and brightest students taking up a career in science to tackle these difficult problems. Through this competition students get a feel for what it might be like to be a neuroscientist so they can decide whether this might be the right career for them.”

The winner will be announced at the Sydney Convention Centre on Monday February 1 – media representatives are invited to attend and high-resolution photographs will be available after the event.


Media Contact:
Anna Bednarek
Communications Manager
Phone: +61 7 3346 6414
Email: a.bednarek@uq.edu.au

Notes to the Editor
The Australian Brain Bee Challenge (ABBC) is the country’s largest neuroscience competition for high school students.  The competition is designed to test school students’ knowledge about a range of topics, including intelligence, memory, emotions, sleep, Alzheimer’s disease and stroke.  In 2010, more than 10,000 students are expected to take part nationally.

The Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) was established as a research institute of the University of Queensland in 2003. The Institute is now operating out of a new $63 million state-of-the-art facility and houses 26 Principal Investigators with strong international reputations. The QBI is one of the largest neuroscience institutes in the world dedicated to understanding the mechanisms underlying brain function.