State's brightest attracted to UQ neuroscience challenge

12 Mar 2007

Sixty-five of Queensland's brightest Year 11 students will compete for more than $25,000 in prizes as part of Australia's most prestigious neuroscience competition for high schools at UQ this week.

The state finals of the Australian Brain Bee Challenge (ABBC) tomorrow, Tuesday, March 13 are the culmination of many months' studying about the inner workings of the brain for an elite group of science students.

National ABBC coordinator and Queensland Brain Institute neuroscientist Associate Professor Linda Richards said students participating in the 2007 Queensland final were the"brightest of the bright".

“These students have been selected on merit from a national exam held last October,” Dr Richards said.

“The competition helps students learn more about the brain, and the Australian Brain Bee Challenge is the perfect introduction to a science career.

“We hope to attract the brightest young minds to a career in neuroscience to tackle some of the most devastating neurological illnesses faced by our community, as well as learning how our brains work and therefore what makes us human. Enthusing young minds with neuroscience at grade 11 is ideal,” she said.

The Brain Bee is a live question-and-answer competition, where students from as far away as Yeppoon will be quizzed on their neuroscience knowledge. The competition is a test of important facts concerning intelligence, memory, emotions, sensations, movement, stress, ageing, sleep, Alzheimer's disease and stroke.

Queensland finalists will receive microscopes from Zeiss Australasia for their school and iPods to take home. The winner of the individual competition is awarded a trip for two to Melbourne to compete with students from NSW, VIC, ACT, WA and New Zealand in an Australia/NZ grand final at the International Brain Research Organisation meeting in July.

Queensland Brain Institute neuroscientists study the fundamental mechanisms that regulate brain function, working towards development of treatments for dementia, stroke, Motor Neuron Disease, brain/spinal cord injury and depression.

QBI Director Professor Perry Bartlett will officially open the event at 9.00am in the Queensland Bioscience Precinct Auditorium. Australian Brain Bee Challenge winners will be presented with their prizes from 4.30pm.

The ABBC Queensland finalists come from schools in Brisbane, Buderim, Mudgeeraba, Southport, Rockhampton, Collinsville and Yeppoon.


For more information, please contact:
QBI Communications Office
Tel: +61 7 3346 6434

Notes to the Editor

The Queensland Brain Institute was formed in 2003 as part of the Queensland Government’s Smart State Initiative, building on a long history of neuroscience at The University of Queensland. QBI is dedicated to understanding the molecular basis of brain function and applying this knowledge to the development of new therapeutics to treat brain and mental health disorders.

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.