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REF NO.: 169

SUBJECT: Race is on for the best brain in Canada

DATE: May 28

Twelve high school students from across the country, including Michael Sloan from Bishop’s College, St. John’s, will compete this week at McMaster University for the title of best brain in Canada. 
The annual Canadian National Brain Bee, sponsored by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), will take place May 29 and 30 in Hamilton with winners of regional Brain Bee competitions being quizzed on such topics as memory, sleep, brain disease, aging and perception, as well as their skills at patient diagnosis and neuroanatomy.
Hosted by McMaster University’s Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour, the event is sponsored by CIHR. The 12 regional contestants hail from St. John’s, Halifax, Montreal, Kingston, Toronto, Hamilton, Guelph, Waterloo, London, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.
The 2009 Newfoundland and Labrador Brain Storm competition for high school students took place March 28 at Memorial University’s Faculty of Medicine.
“Our chapter of the Society for Neuroscience has been having a Brain Storm competition for high school students since 2000 as a way to get youth interested in brain research as a potential career choice,” said Dr. John McLean, Division of BioMedical Science, who has organized this event since its inception with the help of graduate students and other faculty members.
 “This is the third year we have been able to send our provincial winner out of the province for further competitions in the United States and Canada,” said Dr. McLean. “With the help of several funding sources we are delighted to send Mike Sloan to the second Annual Canadian Brain Bee competition.”
Judith Shedden, chair of the CIHR Canadian National Brain Bee Committee, said, “Neuroscience research is one of the great frontiers of scientific research. An important goal of the Brain Bee is to reach out to our extended communities to share what we, as scientists, are doing in our laboratories.”
Dr. Anthony Phillips, scientific director at the CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction, said CIHR is proud to sponsor the second annual CIHR Canadian National Brain Bee. “It is essential for CIHR to encourage these talented students to get involved in science, since they represent the future in this field.”
First-, second- and third-prize winners will receive trophies as well as $1,500, $1,000, and $500 scholarship awards respectively. The first-prize winner will also receive a summer internship in a neuroscience laboratory, and will represent Canada at the International Brain Bee on Aug. 8 in Toronto.

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For further information or for an interview please contact: Michael Sloan at 728-4719; or Dr. John McLean at 777-6367, 777-8280 or
The Brain Bee is a competition for high school students, grades 9 through 12, on such topics as memory, sleep, intelligence, emotion, perception, stress, aging, brain-imaging, neurology, neurotransmitters, genetics, and brain disease. The competition is designed to stimulate interest and excitement about the brain and neuroscience research by bringing students into their local university setting to meet students and professors who conduct brain research. It is an avenue of communication, through media and students, to raise awareness of brain research in the community, and to as a means to attract students to the field of neuroscience.
For more information about the First Annual CIHR Canadian National Brain Bee, please visit the Brain Bee web site at
This years’ contestants representing their regions are:
Michael Sloan (St. John’s)
Iwona Borycz (Halifax)
Sofia Essayan-Perez (Montreal)
Julia Shin (Hamilton, Ont.)
Stella Park (London, Ont.)
Liwei Li (Guelph, Ont.)
Nafisa Tasnim (Waterloo, Ont.)
Sean Amodeo (Toronto)
Jeremy Wang (Kingston, Ont.)
Jenny Lou (Edmonton)
Audrey Cheung (Calgary)
Paul Lao (Vancouver)


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