Brain Bee


Twenty-nine students from seven Montreal area high schools will assemble at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital – The Neuro at McGill University on February 23 to be quizzed about synapses, axons and other cerebral facts in the international contest known as the Brain Bee.  The winner will go on to the Canadian National Brain Bee in Hamilton, Ontario.  The national winner travels to Cape Town, South Africa for the International Brain Bee, whose contestants span the globe.

In the Brain Bee contestants answer questions about the brain and the nervous system, including such diverse topics as memory, sleep, intelligence, emotion, perception, stress, aging, brain-imaging, neurology, neurotransmitters, genetics, and brain disease.  The competition begins with a written neuroanatomy quiz followed by a round of questions.  The top six contestants compete in the final round.  Martin Pelletier, graduate students at Université du Québec à Rimouski will host the bilingual competition - 8 contestants in French and 21 in English.

Questions are tough and there are close to 500 of them. To prepare, contestants must spend weeks studying Neuroscience: Science of the Brain, a 60-page book full of brain facts compiled by the Society for Neuroscience.  Contestants are coached and mentored by graduate students at The Neuro.  Win or lose, the high school students come away with a college undergraduate’s understanding of brain anatomy and function.    

Contest organizers believe in the power of preparing teenagers for the future.  The winners of the Brain Bee today could one day be the discoverers of cures for neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s, autism, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. 

The Montreal Brain Bee, which is open to all high-school students, also includes games, prizes and a presentation on the link between the heart and emotion by neuroscientists Martin Pelletier and Mashiyat Majid.

What: 2012 Montreal Brain Bee, leading up to the International Brain Bee 2012

When: February 23, 2012

Time: Various activities between 11:45 am to 4:30 pm, or at 3:15 pm for the final round.

Where: Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, 3801 University Street, H3A 2B4


About the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital

The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital — The Neuro, is a unique academic medical centre dedicated to neuroscience. Founded in 1934 by the renowned Dr. Wilder Penfield, The Neuro is recognized internationally for integrating research, compassionate patient care and advanced training, all key to advances in science and medicine. The Neuro is a research and teaching institute of McGill University and forms the basis for the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre.  Neuro researchers are world leaders in cellular and molecular neuroscience, brain imaging, cognitive neuroscience and the study and treatment of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and neuromuscular disorders. The Montreal Neurological Institute was named as one of the Seven Centres of Excellence in 2007, which provided the MNI with $15 million in funding to support its research and commercialization activities related to neurological disease and neuroscience.