May 27, 2009


Race is on for the best brain in Canada  

Hamilton, ON. May 27, 2009 – Twelve high school students from across the country will compete this week at McMaster University for the title of best brain in Canada. 

The annual CIHR Canadian National Brain Bee 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 & Behaviour (PNB), the event is supported by the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR). The 12 regional contestants hail from Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, London, Waterloo, Guelph, Hamilton, Toronto, Kingston, Montreal, Halifax, and St. John’s. 

“Neuroscience research is one of the great frontiers of scientific research,” says Judith Shedden, associate professor in PNB, and chair of the CIHR Canadian National Brain Bee Committee. “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.”
“CIHR is proud to sponsor the second annual CIHR Canadian National Brain Bee,” said Dr. Anthony Phillips, scientific director at the CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction. “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.

This years’ contestants representing their regions are:

Michael Sloan (St. John’s)
Sofia Essayan-Perez (Montreal)
Julia Shin (Hamilton, Ont.)
Stella Park (London, Ont.)
Liwei Li (Guelph, Ont.)
Paul Lao (Vancouver)
Nafisa Tasnim (Waterloo, Ont.)
Sean Amodeo (Toronto)
Jeremy Wang (Kingston, Ont.)
Jenny Lou (Edmonton)
Audrey Cheung (Calgary)
Iwona Borycz (Halifax)

McMaster University, one of four Canadian universities listed among the Top 100 universities in the world, is renowned for its innovation in both learning and discovery. It has a student population of 23,000, and more than 140,000 alumni in 128 countries.
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada’s agency for health research. CIHR’s mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to enable its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health-care system. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to nearly 12,000 health researchers and trainees across Canada.

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


For additional information contact:

Jane Christmas
Manager, Public and Media Relations
McMaster University
905-525-9140, ext. 27988

Michelle Donovan
Public Relations Manager, Broadcast Media
McMaster University
905-525-9140, ext. 22869

David Coulombe
CIHR Media Relations
Tel: 613-941-4563
Cell: 613-808-7526