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18 March 2008

More than 6,000 high school students from across Australia and New Zealand will put their brainpower to the test this Wednesday, 18 March.

More than 6,000 high school students from across Australia and New Zealand will put their brainpower to the test this Wednesday, 18 March.

The year 10 students will take part in round one of the 2009 Australian Brain Bee Challenge (ABBC), the country’s largest competition for budding brain scientists.

The ABBC is coordinated by the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) with support from The University of Queensland’s Faculty of Science and Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s Office.

Participants will take part in a written quiz designed to test their knowledge of brain functions such as intelligence, memory, emotions, sensations, movement, stress, sleep and addiction.

QBI Director Professor Perry Bartlett said the ABBC is now one of the largest science competitions in the Asia–Pacific.

“There is so much we don’t understand about the brain and how it works, which results in a lot of public misconception about brain disorders such as dementia, depression and schizophrenia,” Professor Bartlett said.

“It’s therefore encouraging that so many young Australians have an interest in neuroscience and may one day help solve the puzzle of brain disease.”

According to ABBC Coordinator and QBI neuroscientist Associate Professor Linda Richards, the best scoring students from round one will progress to the state finals on Tuesday, 16 June 2008.

“Winners of each state final will receive microscopes from Zeiss Australasia and progress to the national final, to be held at the Australian Neuroscience Society Meeting in Sydney in January 2010,” Dr Richards said.

“The national Brain Bee Challenge winner will again have the opportunity to travel to North America to compete in the International Brain Bee.”

Several ABBC finalists from 2008 spent their summer holidays working on research projects in QBI neuroscience laboratories under the supervision of senior research staff.

More information about the Australian Brain Bee Challenge can be found online at www.abbc.edu.au

ENDS

Number of registrations by state

ACT / 349

NT /131

NSW / 2047

QLD / 1892

VIC / 555

SA/ 325

TAS / 205

WA / 1413

NZ North Island / 985

NZ South Island / 515

For more information, please contact:

QBI Communications Office
Tel: +61 7 3346 6434

Notes to the Editor
QUEENSLAND BRAIN INSTITUTE
The Queensland Brain Institute was formed in 2003 as part of the Queensland Government’s Smart State Initiative, building on a long history of neuroscience at The University of Queensland. QBI is dedicated to understanding the molecular basis of brain function and applying this knowledge to the development of new therapeutics to treat brain and mental health disorders.

AUSTRALIAN BRAIN BEE CHALLENGE
The Australian Brain Bee Challenge (ABBC) is the country’s largest neuroscience competition for high school students. The competition is designed to test school students’ knowledge about a range of topics, including intelligence, memory, emotions, sleep, Alzheimer’s disease and stroke. In 2010, more than 10,000 students are expected to take part nationally.