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Impressive results at Wales Brain Bee competition

20 December 2018

WBB Holding image
Students concentrating during the Wales Brain Bee lab challenge.

More than sixty students took part in this year’s Wales Brain Bee competition, hosted by the Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute.

After months of preparation, students from six schools came together to test their knowledge of neuroscience, both in a lab practical and through a series of written exam challenges.

The competition

Based on the International Brain Bee competition, set up by Dr Norbert Myslinski, from the University of Maryland in 1998, the regional Wales Brain Bee’s mission is to inspire new generations of students to pursue study and careers in neuroscience.

The challenges consisted of practical lab work in teams, a series of written exam style questions and a team neuro-challenge based on diagnosing patients on a range of neurological symptoms.

Aine Moylett student demonstration
Aine Moylett demonstrating for students during the lab practical.
Frank and students
Professor Frank Sengpiel and students at the lab practical.

This year’s schools included Stanwell School, St Cyres School, Monmouth School Sixth Form, Cathedral School Llandaff, Merthyr Tydfil College and Ysgol Gyfun Gwyr Swansea. Representing a wider geographic area than ever before.

Cathedral students during the neuro-challenge
Cathedral students during the neuro-challenge.

With the hope to inspire the next generation of young scientists, the event offered a great opportunity for students to make friends across schools, talk to early career researchers about study and career options as well enriching their knowledge with hands on experience in a laboratory.

The winners

This year, Cathedral School Llandaff took home the Wales Brain Bee Shield, after student James Bibey claimed the first prize trophy and £50 Amazon voucher for his results, totaling the highest score at an impressive ninety percent. He was followed by aspiring doctor and runner up Caitlin Clarke from Monmouth School Sixth Form and in third place, also from Cathedral was student Sam Staffurth.

James Bibey first prize
James Bibey receiving the first prize from professor Frank Sengpiel.

“We were very happy with this year’s turnout and results. This year’s Brain Bee was one of the mostly tensely competitive we’ve seen,” said Brain Bee organiser Professor Frank Sengpiel, Head of Neuroscience Division in the School of Biosciences.

“It’s so important to find creative ways to interest and inspire young students in our work. It’s fantastic to be part of an event that does this so successfully. It was great to see how engaged and committed the students were when taking part in the challenges and the results spoke for themselves, they all excelled.

“I’d like to offer a big thank you to the teachers who came back, those who attended for the first time and all of the students for their enthusiasm. Another special thank you is required for all our volunteers, their input is invaluable, these events would not be possible without them and they continually take time out of their demanding academic schedules to participate.

“We look forward to Wales Brain Bee 2019 and hope that our winner may be given the opportunity to compete in the National British Brain Bee next year.”

Register for 2019

If you are a school interested in taking part in the Wales Brain Bee 2019, register your team (up to 10 students) by contacting:

Camila Araya-Larrain

Camila Araya-Larrain

Communications Officer, Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences

+44 (0) 29 2068 8462

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