Year 10 students from around Western Australia will converge on The University of Western Australia later this year to compete in a contest that could identify some of the top neuroscientists of the future.
Round One of the 2011 Australian Brain Bee Challenge to be held next week has attracted WA students from 34 schools, many of them from outside the Perth metropolitan area. The 60 top ranking students from this round will be invited to compete in the second round held at UWA in June.
The State coordinator, UWA's Assistant Professor Jenny Rodger, said considerable efforts had been made to ensure that schools from more remote areas had an equal chance of competing at the highest levels.
"This will be a fantastic opportunity for students to visit UWA, see the campus and experience a number of different neuroscience labs," Dr Rodger said. "Research conducted at UWA is vital to the development of treatments for brain injury and neurological disorders such as schizophrenia, stroke, depression and motor neuron disease as well as understanding the molecular and physiological mechanisms that regulate brain function."
The WA students are among 11,347 high school students from across Australia and New Zealand who will participate in the challenge during Brain Awareness Week (14 to 20 March).
Established in 2006, the Brain Bee Challenge is coordinated by the Queensland Brain Institute in association with the Faculty of Biological and Chemical Sciences at the University of Queensland.
Western Australia's Chief Scientist, UWA Professor Lyn Beazley, said: "I am particularly keen to encourage our bright young minds to engage with science. I am therefore delighted that the Brain Bee is taking place again this year. I was very impressed by the high standard of the students last year. I also know that they really enjoyed taking part and felt it was an exciting and rewarding experience."
Winners of each State final will progress to the national final, to be held at the Queensland Brain Institute in August. The national Brain Bee Challenge winner will have the opportunity to represent Australia at the International Brain Bee.
Round One of the challenge is held in schools and Round Two will be held at UWA on June 28.