News & Stories

National Brain Bee Competition Held Virtually

Sixty-seven students from 30 chapters around the county competed in the first-ever virtual version of the National Brain Bee Competition, hosted this year by Northeast Ohio Medical University.  An awards ceremony completing the two-day event was livestreamed Sunday, April 11. 

The Brain Bee is a live Q&A competition to test the neurobiology knowledge that high school students have acquired through tutoring sessions and more. The final competition involved five subtests: a neuroanatomy practical, brain imaging, patient diagnosis, clinical applications and a written exam.  

Chapter winners from both 2020 and 2021 competed in the competition, which was  but was cancelled that year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

National winners for 2021:

First: Yashwanth Gokarakonda, representing the Society for Neuroscience Arkansas Chapter, coordinated by Dr. Andrew James. Yashwanth attends Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas. 

Second: Benjamin Cohen (Virginia)

Third: Neha Nedumaran (Arizona)

Fourth: Conrad Schaumburg (Pennsylvania)

Fifth: Arthur Liang (New York)

National winners for 2020:

First: Rahil Patel, representing the University of Pennsylvania Brain Bee, coordinated by John A. Dani. Rahil attends Upper Merion Area High School in Philadelphia.  

Second: Risha Chakraborty (California)

Third: Zaid Siddiqui (Michigan)

Tied for fourth: Sampath Rapuri (Texas) and Veda Dayananda (Georgia)

Both the 2020 and 2021 USA Champions will represent the United States in the 2021 World Brain Bee Championship scheduled for Fall 2021. 

About the Bee

Currently, there are about 250 Brain Bee Chapters in about 49 countries on 6 continents. Norbert Myslinski, Ph.D., who founded the International Brain Bee 23 years ago, said, “Its purpose is to motivate young students to learn about the human brain and inspire them to seek careers in the basic and clinical neurosciences to help treat and find cures for brain disorders. We build better brains to fight brain disorders.” 

Dana Peterson, Ph.D., assistant professor of anatomy and neurobiology, introduced the Brain Bee to Northeast Ohio when she joined the NEOMED faculty. She was instrumental in bringing the national event to NEOMED and served as co-coordinator of the 2021 competition. 

A sense of certainty

Chris Jones, a 2017 graduate of Bio-Med Science Academy, a STEM+M high school on the NEOMED campus, advanced to the national tournament in his senior year. Jones said in 2017 (as an undergraduate at Baldwin-Wallace University, a NEOMED partner school) that he had been interested in neuroscience all his life, but his success at the national level “gave me a sense of absolute certainty as to what I wanted to do.”