14 June 2009

More than 130 students from 30 Queensland high schools will test their brain power at the 2009 Australian Brain Bee Challenge Queensland final this week (Tuesday, June 16) at The University of Queensland.

Organised annually by the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) the Australian Brain Bee Challenge (ABBC) is Australia’s biggest neuroscience competition for high school students, attracting more than 3000 competitors from 234 schools nationally in 2009.

ABBC National Coordinator, Associate Professor Linda Richards said this year’s Queensland final had the added excitement of participation from many more regional schools, including Whitsunday Anglican College and Rockhampton Girls' Grammar School.

"The Brain Bee is the highpoint of the science calendar for many schools because it allows the brightest young minds to really shine," Dr Richards said.

"Because we have attracted entries from every school region in the state, we are expecting another tough tussle in the state final.

"The competition also encourages high school students to learn about the brain, and helps to raise the profile of neuroscience research and neurological and psychiatric disorders and diseases facing our community," she said.

"We're looking for the next generation of bright young minds to tackle these diseases.

"Overall, the goal of the Brain Bee Challenge is to promote science as a career with a particular focus on neuroscience."

With the support and assistance of neuroscientists in Australia and New Zealand, the ABBC introduces a wide cross-section of young people to neuroscience – often called science’s final frontier – in a positive environment that encourages and rewards excellence.

"The Queensland Brain Institute encourages students to consider a career in neuroscience and gives them an experience of what this might be like," Dr Richards said.

Several previous ABBC winners have made the transition from high school student to university-level neuroscience after being introduced to the discipline by participation in the ABBC.

Following this week’s state final, the Queensland winner will progress to the national final in Sydney in January 2010, where he or she will compete against other state and territory winners, and attend the annual meeting of the Australian Neuroscience Society.

The winner of the national final will then represent Australia at the 2010 International Brian Bee in the United States. Team winners from the state final will receive microscopes and binoculars donated by Carl Zeiss, Australia (major sponsor) for their schools, as well as neuroscience books from Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Ipods from Infinite Systems, plus commemorative UQ pens and T-shirts.

(See list of Queensland finalists provided below)

Media: Associate Professor Linda Richards – Tel (07) 3346 6355
QBI Communications – Tel (07) 3346 6414

Queensland Brain Institute
The University of Queensland
79 Upland Road
St Lucia

Highlights and photo opportunities
Representatives from the media are welcome to attend on the day of competition. Students will be taking part in three tours of neuroscience laboratories. Limited media parking is available with 24 hours’ notice to r.hohen@uq.edu.au.

11.00 am – 12.15 pm
Group 2 – Neuroscience Labs and Facilities at QBI

2.00 pm – 3.10 pm
Group 1 – Neuroscience Labs and Facilities at QBI
Group 2 - Magnetic Resonance Imaging Facility

3.30pm – 4.30pm
Queensland Individual Challenge Final

Qld schools participating in the 2009 ABBC state finals
Brisbane and South East Queensland

Anglican Church Grammar School, Brisbane Grammar School, Caboolture State High School, Caloundra City School, Cleveland District State High School, Hillbrook Anglican School, Kelvin Grove State College, Kenmore State High School, Marist College Ashgrove, Mount Gravatt State High School, Queensland Academy for Health Sciences, Queensland Academy for Science, Mathematics and Technology, Redeemer Lutheran College, Somerset College, Somerville House, St Hilda’s School, St Rita’s College, The Southport School, Wellington Point State High School, Westside Christian College, Woodcrest State College, Wynnum State High School

Regional Queensland
Biloela State High School, Burdekin Catholic High School, Jandowae State School, Kingaroy State High School, Mackay Christian College, Mirani State High School, Proserpine State High School, Rockhampton Girls’ Grammar School, St George State High School, St Joseph’s College Toowoomba, St Monica’s College, Tagai State College Thursday Island Secondary Campus, Whitsunday Anglican College, Xavier Catholic College