Everyone was at the edge of their seats on the evening of April 16th, as the University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) comets and the Trinity University tigers went into the first tiebreaker of the 19thAnnual Brain Bowl since its commencement in 1998. Both teams entered the tiebreaker round with 470 points, and at the end, it was the students from Trinity University that took home the trophy after answering three of the five tiebreaker questions.
“This was the first time ever we had a tie breaker,” said Center for Biomedical Neuroscience (CBN) Director, Professor of Pharmacology, and master of ceremonies, David A. Morilak. “It was exciting. The teams were amazing. Everybody had a great time.”
Sponsored by the Society for Neuroscience, UT Health SA’s Department of Pharmacology, and CBN, the Brain Bowl represents the culminating quiz show event of National Brain Awareness week, which seeks to promote public awareness of current brain research and encourage networking between scientists, clinicians, and the next generation of neuroscientists.
Each year, the Brain Bowl is made possible by graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and faculty from the Department of Pharmacology and CBN members, who serve as judges, scorekeepers, and timers. This year’s judges included Drs. William P. Clark, Carie R. Boychik, Daniel Lode, Flavia Carreno, and Milena Girotti, who assessed the accuracy of the responses provided by the participating teams from UT Dallas, Trinity University, and first-time competitors from Austin College.
The students compete in three rounds of questions followed by a challenge round where they can wager any of the points they have accumulated during the previous rounds. Each round increases in difficulty as the teams advance, and the questions cover five areas of neuroscience including neuroanatomy, brain & behavior, drugs & the brain, neurophysiology, and neurochemistry.
After “flexing their axons and straining their synapses (during the initial three rounds),” said Morilak, both teams from Trinity University and UT Dallas entered the challenge round with 470 points. However, since both teams decided to wager zero points during this round, they were tied at the conclusion of the competition. To determine the 19thAnnual Brain Bowl champions, both teams entered a tiebreaker round, where the team that answered the most out of five questions would take home the trophy. After answering three questions correctly, it was the Trinity tigers who won, beating last year’s Brain Bowl champions from UT Dallas.
“In the week coming up to this, we thought we were going to get third place,” said Trinity University competitor and junior neuroscience and business double major Kit Jaspe. “We’re just really proud to represent Trinity and our neuroscience department.”
“All of the teams should be very proud of themselves,” said Cellular and Integrative Physiology Assistant Professor Carie R. Boychuk. “It can be very nerve-wracking to be in front of an audience, and risk answering incorrectly. A lot of these questions were very challenging, especially the final round question because it required a more in-depth response. All three teams did great, and I was very impressed by their knowledge. Their answers were well thought out and eloquent. I hope that this event was helpful in advancing their career goals by introducing them to our faculty and our students, as well as potential summer research opportunities.”
Everyone was at the edge of their seats on the evening of April 16th, as the University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas)…
Liliana Espinoza is a graduate student in the Neuroscience discipline of the Integrated Biomedical Sciences program.The “Beyond The Bench” series features articles written by students and postdoctoral fellows at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio.