University Hosts First Annual Brain Bee

February 13, 2009 - News Release

Local high school students will put their grey matter to the test in a battle of wits about brains in the first annual Guelph Brain Bee being held at the University of Guelph Feb. 17. Sponsored by the Department of Psychology and professors from the neurosciences and applied cognitive science program, the event will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. in the University Centre's Peter Clark Hall.

“We’re looking forward to hosting this exciting event for the first time in Guelph,” said psychology professor Mark Fenske. Previously, local students travelled to Hamilton to take part. “It’s a great opportunity for local students to learn more about neuroscience and brain research in general, and about all the exciting brain-related work taking place at U of G.”

Brain Bee events are held each year across the country, sponsored by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). The winners of the local events will represent their communities at the CIHR Canadian National Brain Bee at McMaster University in May. The winner of the national competition will move on to the International Brain Bee in Toronto in August, held during the American Psychological Association convention.

Last year’s Canadian champion, Isdin Oke, is now a first-year science student and President’s Scholarship recipient at U of G. The Brain Bee is associated with Brain Awareness Week, launched by the Society for Neuroscience in 1996 and celebrated each March around the world.

Modelled after a traditional spelling bee, Brain Bee competitors answer questions about the brain and neuroscience research. Topics include memory, sleep, intelligence, emotion, stress, aging, brain imaging, and more.

The event will also give more than two-dozen high school students from the Guelph area an opportunity to interact with U of G faculty and graduate students involved in brain research.

“Many local students and their teachers know about U of G’s strengths in agricultural and animal sciences, but they’re not aware of the work we do in neuroscience and psychology,” said Fenske. “We have a strong and growing program in neuroscience and brain research in general. This is a great opportunity to showcase what Guelph has to offer, and for students to learn about academic and career options in this rewarding field.”

Prof. Mark Fenske
Department of Psychology
519 824-4120, Ext. 56411

Prof. Boyer Winters
Department of Psychology
519 824-4120, Ext. 52163

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt at Ext. 53338, or Barry Gunn, Ext. 56982,

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1