May 26 , 2011




Seeking Canada's next top brain researcher

Annual contest spawns new generation of scientists



Hamilton, Ont. May 26, 2011High school students from across Canada will converge on McMaster University this weekend to compete for the right to be called the best brain in Canada.

The students, all winners of their regional competitions, will be tested on their knowledge of neuroscience and their skills at patient diagnosis and neuroanatomy. Topics cover memory, sleep, intelligence, emotion, perception, stress, aging, brain-imaging, neurology, neurotransmitters, genetics, and brain disease.

The competition begins May 28. Participants are winners of their regional Brain Bee competitions in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Kingston, London, Waterloo, Guelph, Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Halifax.

Judith Shedden, associate professor in McMaster’s Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, started the McMaster Brain Bee nine years ago. Now chair of the CIHR Canadian National Brain Bee Committee, she says the purpose of the competition is to encourage a career in 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 are doing in our laboratories, and to encourage these bright young minds to consider a career in brain research,” she says.

The CIHR Canadian National Brain Bee is supported nationally by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

“This championship represents a great opportunity to bring together the brightest students in Canada to measure their knowledge of the brain, the most complex structure in the known universe,” says Dr. Anthony Phillips, Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction. “We consider these talented students as the next generation of researchers in one of the most exciting areas of science.”

Winners receive trophies and scholarship awards of $1,500, $1,000, and $500. The first-place winner will represent Canada at the International Brain Bee from July 14-18, in Florence, Italy.

More information can be found at

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 more than 13,600 health researchers and trainees across Canada.

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For more information, please contact:

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

Wade Hemsworth
Public Relations Manager
McMaster University
905-525-9140, ext. 27988

Judith Shedden
Associate Professor
Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour
McMaster University

David Coulombe
CIHR Media Relations