Brain challenge for state's brainiest kids

Friday, 20 June 2008

Do brainy kids know how brains work? We'll all find out when some of South Australia's brightest Year 11 students compete in the state final of a national neuroscience quiz at the University of Adelaide on Monday 23 June.

The top 40 students from round one of the Australian Brain Bee Challenge will visit the University's School of Molecular and Biomedical Science for a full day of individual and team quiz rounds and neuroscience laboratory tours. It's the first time that SA schools have entered the national competition.

Coordinator of the South Australian Brain Bee Competition Final and University of Adelaide neuroscientist Dr Paul Thomas said he was delighted at the huge number of entries received from across the state.

"It's exciting how this competition has really taken off with more than 600 students from SA competing in the round one quiz," Dr Thomas said.

The state and national finals of the Australian Brain Bee Challenge will involve live question and answer competitions that will test students' knowledge on topics such as intelligence, memory, emotions, sensations, movement, stress, sleep and addiction.

Dr Thomas said the Brain Bee Competition aimed to raise awareness about the brain and its function, to correct misconceptions about neurological disorders, and to recruit budding research scientists.

"The brain is an incredibly complex organ and there is so much we don't understand about how it works," he said. "Australia is facing an increasing number of cases of neurological diseases and disorders, which presents a difficult challenge for science to overcome.

"The Brain Bee Challenge really helps the neuroscience research community to engage with the some of state's brightest young people, and encourages them to enter the neuroscience field in order to help crack some of those big problems."

Research conducted at the University of Adelaide is vital to the development of treatments for neurological disorders such as epilepsy, intellectual disability, stroke, depression and motor neuron disease as well as understanding the molecular and physiological mechanisms that regulate brain development and function.

Winners of the state final will receive microscopes from Zeiss Australasia and progress to the national final, to be held at the Queensland Brain Institute in August. The SA competition and airfares to the national finals are being supported by the University of Adelaide's Faculty of Sciences.

The National Brain Bee Challenge winner will have the opportunity to compete in the International Brain Bee in Baltimore, Maryland, in 2009.

Established in 2006, the Brain Bee Challenge is coordinated by the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) in association with the Faculty of Biological and Chemical Sciences at the University of Queensland.


Contact Details

Professor Paul Thomas
Head, Genome Editing Laboratory
Adelaide Medical School
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8128 4823
Mobile: +61 449 898 765

Ms Robyn Mills
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 6341
Mobile: +61 410 689 084