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Brain Bowl Raises Awareness of Brain Awareness Week

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Author: Charlotte Anthony | Category: Around Campus | Neuroscience | Neuroscience | April 16, 2015

Every spring, the Center for Biomedical Neuroscience (CBN) sponsors the Brain Bowl, the premier Brain Awareness Week event for our neuroscience community. 

The Brain Bowl is a neuroscience quiz show in which three teams of undergraduates from colleges and universities across Texas compete for prizes, bragging rights, and the Brain Bowl trophy.

Angie Salinas, a graduate student in the Integrated Biomedical Sciences (IBMS) program said that she was excited to go to this year’s Brain Bowl because teams from Trinity University, the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) and the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) were competing for the coveted Brain Bowl Trophy. The winner of this year's competition was UT Arlington. 

“You get to meet other people and poke at their brains and see what they are doing and let them know what we are doing here,” Salinas said. “It’s a good way to network.”

Salinas said she really enjoys trivia because it tests what she is learning in class. Brain Bowl questions range from relatively easy to very difficult, covering fields of neuroscience research including neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, neurochemistry, drugs and the brain, and the brain and behavior.

“It’s food for the brain and we do that every day so why not make it a game and have fun with it,” Salinas said. “It’s a great way to see what everyone else knows and also to see how much you know.”

Rhea Fraser, a postdoc in the Department of Physiology, said that she enjoyed the event because it was an fun way to share neuroscience knowledge with scientists, trainees and non-scientists.

"This was my first time attending the Brain Bowl; I was surprised to learn it had existed for 16 years. I was impressed by the students' professionalism and depth of knowledge. While it felt good to know some answers, it was also nice to be reminded of some topics and even learn answers to things I did not know," Fraser said.

The first Brain Bowl was held in 1998, and over the years has attracted teams from Texas Lutheran University, St. Mary's University, UTSA, Trinity University, Southwestern University, University of Texas at Austin, University of Texas at Arlington, Baylor University, and Texas A&M. Graduate students, postdocs and faculty from the CBN run the event, serving as timers, scorekeepers, and judges.

Fraser believes that it's important for people to learn about brain awareness week.

"Brain awareness week is about communicating and spreading knowledge about neuroscience and brain research," Fraser said. "It's about making people love or at least understand and appreciate brain research, so that the public finds it just as interesting as the scientists and students who study these areas. It was great exposure for the UTHSCSA Brain Bowl to be live streamed online and tweeted through the Society for Neuroscience." 

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