The International Brain Bee (IBB) Challenge is a non-profit neuroscience competition designed to teach school students (age group of 14-19 years) about the brain, capture their imaginations, and to inspire them to pursue careers in biomedical research. Currently there are 150 Brain Bee coordinators worldwide and the Singapore Neuroscience Association (SNA) is privileged to be the national coordinator of IBB in Singapore. Assoc Prof S T Dheen (Department of Anatomy), the President of SNA, is the National coordinator for Singapore and Mr Parakalan Rangarajan (Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine Graduate Student) was appointed as the local coordinator for the year 2013.

SNA has organised the Singapore Brain Bee Challenge 2013 competition successfully. This competition is a historical and important event as it provides a unique platform for young Singapore students to show case their talent and interest in neuroscience. The response from students of prominent schools in Singapore was overwhelming. About 120 students from 10 schools participated in the competition.

SNA had organised a series of events over the months of May and June 2012 as part of the Singapore National Brain Bee Challenge. Firstly, an orientation session was conducted to introduce the young students to the brain and neuroscience. Assoc Prof Ng Yee Kong (Department of Anatomy), Assoc Prof Sanjay Khanna (Physiology) and Dr. Sajikumar Sreedharan (Physiology) from the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS delivered lectures on brain and its functions to the young students from prominent schools in Singapore.  The participating schools and junior colleges included Raffles Institution, National Junior College, NUS High School, Victoria Junior College, Anglo-Chinese Junior College, CHIJ St Nicholas Girls School, Dunman High School, River Valley High School, Cedar High School and Global Indian International School.

The written examination was conducted on the 27th of May, 2013. With 120 examinees, a stringent protocol was followed to narrow down the top 6 finalists. The finalists had oral exam conducted by eminent neuroscientists in Singapore, namely, Prof Ling Eng-Ang, Assoc Prof ST Dheen, Assoc Prof Ng Yee Kong and Assoc Prof Samuel Tay.

The National Brain Bee Champion was announced to be Mr Mani Hemaprashaad from Raffles Institution, in an Award Ceremony conducted on the 31st May, 2013. The Champion received his award from the Guest of Honour, Professor Bay Boon Huat, Head of the Department of Anatomy, NUS Medicine. The Champion was also awarded a cash prize of $500 and a travel award of $2,000 to attend the International Brain Bee Challenge to be held in Vienna, Austria between September 22nd and September 24th, 2013. The 1st and 2nd runner up of the Singapore Brain Bee Challenge was awarded to Ms Ho Hui Min from Raffles Institution and Ms Xu Leyi from NUS High School, respectively. During the Award Ceremony, Associate Professor Voon Chee Tet, Francis (Department of Anatomy) delivered a talk titled “Neurocognition: How does your Brain learn?”

This event was sponsored by the Department of Anatomy, NUS Medicine, Lee Foundation, and the Kwang Im Thong Hood Cho Temple Trust.

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[Left to right] Assoc Prof Sanjay Khanna, Assoc Prof Frank Voon, Assoc Prof S Thameem Dheen, Guest of Honour Prof Bay Boon Huat, Prof Ling Eng Ang, Assoc Prof Samuel Tay, Assoc Prof Ng Yee Kong, Prof Charanjit Kaur, Assoc Prof Ong Wei Yi, Dr Sajikumar Sreedharan, Mr Parakalan Rangarajan with merit and distinction award winners of the Singapore Brain Bee Challenge 2013