Centre for Brain Research hosts 2013 Brain Bee Competition

In a close final round, Auckland Grammar student Thomas Chang won the North Island Brain Bee Challenge, held at The University of Auckland’s Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences this week.

The runners-up were Tiger Huang from Auckland International College and Stephanie Soon from Westlake Girls High School. It could possibly have been an Auckland Grammar 1-2 finish as Tiger Huang was an AGS pupil until the start of this year when he entered Auckland International College.

These students took the top three spots from a group of seven finalists that also included Elizabeth Huang (St Cuthberts College), Samuel Dobson (Palmerston North Boys High), Stephen Lunn (Kings College) and Ewen Tun (Kings College).

The Teams final was won by Epsom Girls Grammar with Westlake Girls High second, and St Cuthberts College third.

The day’s neuroscience knowledge challenge was contested by nearly 200 students from 44 North Island schools. Quizmaster for the day is a research fellow in biological sciences at The University of Auckland, Dr Jessie Jacobsen.

The day was co-ordinated by Dr Maurice Curtis and the founding organiser of the NZ Brain Bee, Professor Louise Nicholson, and hosted by the Centre for Brain Research.

During the day, students took time out to participate in tours of the research laboratories, hands-on activities, visit the MRI scanner and the Anatomy Learning Centre.

“The visit is inspiring for the students and we believe that their experiences with us here at the Brain Bee influences their choices as they move forward into tertiary study,” says the founding organiser of the New Zealand  Brain Bee, Professor Louise Nicholson.

The Brain Bee has been going since 2007, so many of the winning students are now in tertiary study including past winners, George Shand, William Zhang, Rachel Wiltshire and Kate Burgess who are all studying at the Faculty for Medical and Health Sciences.

The Brain Bee is one of the largest student competitions in New Zealand.  Round one was held in Brain Awareness week in March when the 1500 plus registered participants complete in an on-line multi-choice quiz run within their schools.

“We invite the top 200 to this North Island finals day, with the winner of each of the North and South Island competitions go to Australia for the National finals”, says Professor Nicholson.  “The Australia/NZ national final involves the eight states and two from New Zealand all competing to represent their respective countries in the International Brain Bee final which this year is in Vienna.”

The CatWalk Spinal Cord Injury Trust is the main sponsor of both the North and South Island competitions, while the Centre for Brain Research sponsors our winners to Australia, with Freemasons (NZ) sponsoring the overall winner to the international final.

Written by Suzi Phillips

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