Alaska makes first appearance at the USA National Brain Bee

March 5, 2013

Blake Endres at the USA National Brain BeeThe Sixth USA National Brain Bee Championship was held in Baltimore, Md., on March 2 and 3. The Brain Bee is a neuroscience competition for high school students. Winners from 45 regional competitions in 26 states came to test their knowledge of the human brain including such topics as intelligence, emotions, memory, sleep, vision, hearing, sensations, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, addictions and brain research. The competition involved orals, a neuroanatomy laboratory practical with real human brains, neurohistology with microscopes, brain imaging identification and patient diagnosis with nurse actors.

This year, for the first time, Alaska sent a representative to the National Brain Bee: Blake Endres, a junior from Robert Service High School. Blake won the regional Anchorage Brain Bee held on the UAA campus Feb. 16. Blake and his mother were able to attend the national competition thanks to generous contributions from the WWAMI School of Medical Education, the UAA College of Arts and Sciences and the UAA Center for Community Engagement and Learning. See the original Green & Gold story about the competition here.

Emily Ruan from Minneapolis, Minn., won first-place honors at the USA National Brain Bee Championship this year. She is a freshman at Mounds View High School. While Blake did not win, he did perform strongly in the neuroanatomy section, placing second overall in that round.  Blake’s strong performance at the National Brain Bee earned him recognition from the national coordinators and he enjoyed the event despite not winning. Way to go, Blake!

The USA Champion will next represent the United States in the International Championship that will be held in conjunction with the convention of the World Neurology Congress in Vienna, Austria in September. Currently, there are 150 Brain Bee Chapters in 30 countries in six continents. Norbert Myslinski, Ph.D., founded the International Brain Bee 14 years ago and says, “Its purpose is to motivate young students to learn about the brain and inspire them to seek careers in the basic and clinical neurosciences to help treat and cure diseases of the brain and nervous system.” Myslinski is on the faculty of the University of Maryland Department of Neural and Pain Sciences in Baltimore.

The primary sponsor of the local UAA Brain Bee is Caroline Wilson, Ph.D., UAA Department of Biological Sciences. The Anchorage Brain Bee at UAA will be an annual event that will hopefully grow to include more competitors from all over Alaska. Contact Caroline at chwilson@uaa.alaska.edu or (907) 786-6975 for more details. The primary sponsor of the USA Championship is the University of Maryland, Baltimore. The primary sponsor of the International Championship is S. M. Raj, Ph.D. (Madhusudana Rju Sayyaparaju).

For more information, please visit the International Brain Bee website. Media can also contact Steve Berberich at sberb001@umaryland.edu or Norbert Myslinski at nmyslinski@umaryland.edu or (410) 274-4998.

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