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Brain Bee buzz helps promote sciences

1 July 2014

Brain Bee buzz helps promote sciences

The annual New Zealand Brain Bee Challenge for secondary school students gets under way this week (July 2) at the University of Auckland.

More than 170 students from secondary schools throughout the North Island will converge on the University’s Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences in Grafton to compete for the North Island title.

The winner will then take on the best brains from the South Island and together with the Australian states will compete at the National Australia - New Zealand Brain Bee Challenge, which will be held as part of a large international neuroscience conference at Perth in April 2015.

Apart from competing in the Brain Bee challenge, the students will also visit laboratories within the Faculty and the Centre for Brain Research to do hands-on experiments and talk with neuroscientists and graduate students.

The Challenge consists of both team and individual competitions and tests the students on many aspects of the human brain from intelligence, memory, emotions, stress, ageing, sleep, to diseases such as Parkinsons, Alzheimer’s, stroke and addiction

Brain Bee organiser, neuroscientist Dr Maurice Curtis from the University’s Centre for Brain Research, says, “The Brain Bee Challenge is a great opportunity for us to show students and their teachers that there are exciting careers in science and medicine.”

“We can encourage these bright, academically inclined students in the opportunities here,” he says. “Neuroscience is an important aspect of science and with our ageing population it is vital that we have an understanding of the impact that brain diseases have on the health of New Zealanders.”

The annual Brain Bee Challenge is held in three stages. Initially, schools run an online multiple choice quiz during Brain Awareness Week in March to determine their Brain Bee challengers.

The Round Two (North and South Island competition) are held at the University of Auckland and the University of Otago respectively with individuals competing for a place at the National Australia-New Zealand Brain Bee Final held in conjunction with the Australian Neuroscience Society meeting.

The National Brain Bee Challenge winner then has the opportunity to compete in the Australasian Brain Bee Final to be held in Perth in 2015. It will be followed by the International Brain Bee competition in conjunction with the International Brain Research Organisation (IBRO) in the USA.

ENDS

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