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Brain Bee Challenge stimulates young minds

21 June 2012

(From left) Pei Zhuang, Carmen, Ms Murugan, Assoc Prof Dheen, Prof Halliwell and James at the awards ceremony

The Singapore Neuroscience Association (SNA) has organised the first Singapore Brain Bee Challenge to create awareness about neuroscience among school children. Testing participants' knowledge about the brain and different aspects of neuroscience, the competition involved a written examination which selected nine finalists, who then pitted their minds against each other in an oral exam.

The event was supported by the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine's (YLLSoM) Department of Anatomy, with sponsorship from the Lee Foundation and the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple Trust.

SNA President Assoc Prof S T Dheen, a faculty member of the NUS Department of Anatomy, is the national coordinator of the Singapore Brain Bee Challenge. Ms Madhuvika Murugan, a graduate student from YLLSoM, serves as the local coordinator and NUS contact person for all matters related to the competition.

At the awards ceremony, NUS Deputy President (Research and Technology) Prof Barry Halliwell presented the Singapore National Brain Bee Championship to James Alexander from Raffles Institution. Carmen Chia Jia Yun from River Valley High School and Yeow Pei Zhuang from Raffles Institution were the first and second runners-up respectively. James will be participating in the International Brain Bee Challenge in Cape Town, South Africa in July this year.

Prior to the award presentation, Prof Bay Boon Huat, Head of the NUS Department of Anatomy, delivered a motivational talk to inspire students to follow their passion and pursue their dream career.

During May and June, more than 180 students aged between 14 and 18 years old from 12 Singapore schools participated in a number of events, including an introduction to the brain and neuroscience organised by SNA. Those who took part in the Brain Bee Challenge sat for a written exam comprising multiple-choice questions and an essay, with the qualifying candidates going through an oral interview conducted by leading NUS neuroscientists.

Incepted in 1998, the International Brain Bee has 150 Brain Bee coordinators worldwide. It aims to highlight neuroscience accomplishments and research, as well as acts as an outreach platform for universities to engage school students.