2012 Brain Bowl Competition
Congratulations to Trinity University
2012 Brain Bowl Champions!
Cerebral undergrads go head to head in Brain Bowl 2012
On Tuesday evening, April 17th, 2012, undergraduate students from three Texas universities gathered, in an ordinary lecture hall at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, for an oddball tradition that has gained a devoted statewide following in its 13 years.
More than two dozen students from Baylor University, Texas A&M University and Trinity University, were peppered with questions from categories like “Neuroanatomy”, “Neurochemistry” and “Drugs and the Brain”. Ahead of the competition, teams were given sample questions. Among them:
- Name the most prevalent inhibitory amino acid transmitter in the brain.
- Sensory projections from the lateral geniculate nucleus terminate in what area of the cortex?
- What ion is primarily responsible for depolarization of the axon during an action potential?
(The handout describes these sample questions as “easier than most of the questions that will be asked”).
David A. Morilak, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology, who created the Brain Bowl and has masterminded it ever since with assistance from a brain trust of faculty and staff from the Center for Biomedical Neurosciences at the UT Health Science Center, is the Master of Cermonies.
Modeled on the 1960s quiz show “University Challenge,” the Brain Bowl includes three rounds of short-answer questions – each round more difficult than the last – and a final complex challenge question.
The Brain Bowl is a labor of love for Dr. Morilak, who begins planning each year’s competition almost six months beforehand.
He corresponds one-on-one with competitors, getting to know them well enough to introduce them – and perhaps tease them a little – at the event, which he presides over with a comedian’s patter and sense of timing. Last year, he congratulated one student on his upcoming wedding, asked another to demonstrate what being a “Certified Laughter Yoga Leader” is and queried one competitor about his aversion to sky-diving.
Dr. Morilak also secures corporate sponsors, enlists a sometimes-raucous contingent of judges and scorekeepers and personally writes all 76 Brain Bowl questions.
Teams compete for “the coveted Brain Bowl trophy”, prizes and bragging rights. The competition is also intended as a way for students interested in neuroscience to establish relationships with Health Science Center’s faculty and graduate students. Several Brain Bowl competitors have gone on to study at the Health Science Center.
Over the years, many Texas universities have participated in the Brain Bowl, sometimes traveling hours for the honor. Past competitors include Baylor University, Southwestern University, St. Mary’s University, Texas A&M University, Texas Lutheran University, Trinity University, The University of Texas at Arlington, The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas at San Antonio.
This year, Texas A&M University and Trinity University had quite the challenge, going up against past multi-year champion, Baylor University. The Trinity University Tigers (pictured above with Coach James Roberts, Ph.D.) had just enough to overtake last year's champs, the Baylor University Bears, in what was one of the closest margins of victory, nineteen points, in Brain Bowl history. Congratulations to the 2012 Brain Bowl Champions, the Trinity University Tigers!!!
The 2012 Brain Bowl participants:
|Baylor University||Texas A&M University||Trinity University|
|Dr. Brad Keele (Coach)||Dr. Caurnel Morgan (Coach)||Dr. James Roberts (Coach)|
|Jon Allan||Ashley Allen||Paola Almeida|
|Jacob Newman||Lauren Brooks||Ian Churnin|
|Ashley Pitala||Vicky Burman||Melissa Delcont|
|Catie Riley||Shannon Cole||Nicholas Dybdal-Hargreaves|
|Kim Deatley||Jake Feldman|
|Kari Galipp||Chiara Ferrari|
|Harrison Luke||Nick Holder|
|Katy Seloff||Philip Lavere|
|Kelsey Smith||Riley Newson|