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3rd Annual Toronto Brain Bee 2001

The Program in Neuroscience and Dept. of Physiology once again hosted a neuroscience competition for High School students on Wednesday afternoon, February 21, 2001. Twenty-four students from 9 different Toronto schools took part in this oral competition modeled after a "spelling bee". The first place winner was Marvin Chum from Earl Haig Secondary School, second prize went to Vivien Tang from University of Toronto Schools and in third place was Michelle Lao also from Earl Haig. The winner of our local contest, Marvin Chum, will take part in the International Brain Bee competition organized by the University of Maryland in Baltimore on March 13 where the winners from 42 other local University-sponsored competitions will be participating. Prizes for the International Brain Bee will again be $3000 for first place, $2000 for second place, and $1000 for third place. Many thanks to Drs. Karen Davis and Mary Pat McAndrews for running the competition and graduate students Jonathan Downar, Chun Kwan, Chris Tsang and Jacky Yeung for their assistance


Baltimore, MD, March 15, 2001

Every year the competition gets more challenging, not only for the students but also for the judges. This year the students were smarter and more assertive, appealing the ruling of the judges several times, with positive results more than once. But in the end it was the youngest competitor who won.

The competition was the NATIONAL BRAIN BEE, a live question and answer competition for high school students. They came from all over North America to The University of Maryland in Baltimore to be quizzed on such topics as intelligence, emotions, consciousness, sensation, movement, brain imaging, and brain disorders such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and mental retardation. To qualify for the Nationals, the competitors were required to win one of the 31 local brain bee competitions that were held this winter.

It was Arjun Bharioke, a Freshman at New Providence High School who beat out the other competitors and earned the right to be called the "Best Brain." He also won a $3000 scholarship and a traveling trophy that is held by the annual winner's high school.

The second, third, fourth and fifth place winners were Marvin Chum, winner of the University of Toronto Brain Bee, Nikhil Rao, Ashley Lowe, and Adnan Zubair, and they received $2000, $1000, $200 and $100 respectively. Two years ago, a young man from Toronto won. Last year it was a young lady from Glendale, Arizona.

The day following the National Bee, all of the competitors traveled to Washington, DC to visit the Capital Building, the National Library of Medicine, and the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Norbert Myslinski is a neuroscientist and the Founder and Director of The National Brain Bee. It is part of International Brain Awareness Week, which is an effort by brain scientists to educate the public about the importance of brain research. Our knowledge of the brain has more than doubled during the Decade of the Brain. According to Dr. Myslinski, "We need to increase the public understanding of brain disorders, their appreciation of brain research, and their ability to apply this new knowledge to their daily lives. The National Brain Bee is an attempt to motivate our youth to learn about the brain, capture their imagination, and inspire them to pursue careers in biomedical brain research. We need their energy and their passion to fight and win the war against mental retardation, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury and other brain disorders."

The Judges for the final rounds of the National Brain Bee were Drs. Katherine Cameron and Ashiwel Undie of the University of Maryland at Baltimore, and Dr. Jeff Cohn of Glaxo SmithKline. The DANA Alliance for Brain Initiatives, the founder of Brain Awareness Week, was also represented by David Balog.