Brain challenge for state's brainiest kids

Monday, 15 June 2009

Do brainy kids know how brains work? We'll all find out when some of South Australia's brightest Year 10 students compete in the state final of a national neuroscience quiz at the University of Adelaide on Tuesday 16 June.

The top 48 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.

This is the second time that SA schools have entered the national competition, which this year attracted over 3000 competitors from 234 schools across Australia and New Zealand.

SA Coordinator for the Australian Brain Bee Challenge and University of Adelaide neuroscientist Associate Professor Paul Thomas said he was delighted with the huge number of entries received from across the state.

"It's exciting how this competition has really taken off with more than 200 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 some of the 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, stroke, Alzheimer's disease and intellectual disability as well as understanding the molecular and physiological mechanisms that regulate brain function.

The winning school from the state final will receive a microscope from Zeiss Australasia. The individual competition winner will progress to the national final in Sydney in January 2010, where he or she will compete against other state and territory winners, and attend the annual meeting of the Australian Neuroscience Society.

The SA competition and airfares to the national final are being supported by the University of Adelaide's Faculty of Sciences and the Computational Neuroscience Research Cluster.

Established in 2006, the Australian 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

Media Team
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 0814