Sydney student wins national neuroscience tussle

5 Aug 2008

Seventeen-year-old Jayson Jeganathan from Baulkham Hills in Sydney is the 2008 Australian Brain Bee Champion after an exciting battle of neuroscience knowledge at UQ’s Queensland Brain Institute.

Jayson won his way through two rounds of tough neuroscience questions, a brain teasing anatomy exam and a doctor–patient diagnosis test, all the while stunning the judges with his seemingly limitless knowledge of brain function and disease.

As winner of the Australian Brain Bee Challenge (ABBC), Jayson now has the right to compete at the International Brain Bee Challenge in America in 2009.

ABBC National Coordinator, Associate Professor Linda Richards said the Brain Bee remained one of the most important and exciting programs on the neuroscience calendar because it had become the showcase for the brightest young minds in neuroscience.

“The Brain Bee encourages high school students to learn about the brain and helps raise the profile of neuroscience research and neurological and psychiatric disorders and diseases facing our community,” Dr Richards said.

“A goal of the Brain Bee Challenge is to promote science as a career with a particular focus on neuroscience.”

With the support and assistance of neuroscientists in Australia and New Zealand, the ABBC introduces a wide cross-section of young people to neuroscience – often called the final frontier – in a positive environment that encourages and rewards excellence.

According to Jayson Jeganathan, his passion for physics and maths made his foray into neuroscience all the more enjoyable. “I also like playing the piano and reading, but more recently I have started reading classic novels as well as non-fiction books,” he said.

Major sponsors of the Brain Bee Challenge include Carl Zeiss Pty Ltd, The University of Queensland, the Queensland Brain Institute and The Australian Neuroscience Society.

Competition details

Australian Brain Bee National Champion 2008 – Jayson Jeganathan (Baulkham Hills High, NSW)

Runner up: Casey Linton (Somerset College, Qld)


Associate Professor Linda Richards – Tel: (07) 3346 6355

QBI Communications – Tel: (07) 3346 6414

Interviews and press-quality photos available

The nine 2008 Australia–NZ Brain Bee Challenge finalists at QBI on Monday, 4 August 2008: (front row L–R) Jayson Jeganathan (NSW), Kieran Bunn (NZ–South Island), Jack Lowe (SA), Stephen Mackereth (NZ–North Island),  Stephanie Mercuri (Vic), (back row L–R) Casey Linton (Qld), Yasmin Soliman (WA), Hayden Lee (ACT), Katie Dyke (Tas).

Left: QBI Director Professor Perry Bartlett (right) and Zeiss representative Dr Mark Stafford present the ABBC 2008 award to Baulkham Hills High (Sydney) student Jayson Jeganathan.

ABOVE: QBI Director Professor Perry Bartlett (right) and Zeiss representative Dr Mark Stafford present the New Zealand Brain Bee Challenge 2008 award to King's College (Auckland) student Stephen Mackereth.

ABOVE: QBI Director Professor Perry Bartlett (right) and Zeiss representative Dr Mark Stafford present the ABBC 2008 runner-up prize to Somerset College (Qld) student Casey Linton.
Winner and QBI's Dr Massimo Hiliard

ABOVE: The ABBC finalists and their parents were given tours of the Queensland Brain Institute. QBI neuroscientist and laboratory head Dr Massimo Hilliard outlined his fundamental research in the model system (worm species) C.elegans to Jayson Jeganathan, who later went on to win the Australian leg of the championship.