PHARMACOLOGY NEWS AND EVENTS

2013 14th Annual CBN Brain Bowl Competition 

 

Congratulations to University of Texas at Arlington!

2013 Brain Bowl Champions

 
UTA 2013 Brain Bowl Champions
 

Cerebral undergrads go head to head in Brain Bowl 2013

 

On Tuesday evening, April 16th, 2013, 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 14 years.

 

More than two dozen students from Trinity University, the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Texas at San Antonio, 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 and Director of the CBN, 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 (CBN) 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. This year, he cautioned about one student mixing boxing and spending time with family and friends, chuckled with one student who's hobby was rare fish and plants who also worked part-time in a rare fish and plants store, advised one student to make sure he finishes medical school so he can purchase his favorite car, an Astin Martin and lastly the irony of Emily and her dog named Clifford, although a big yellow labrador, in this case.

 

Dr. Morilak also secures corporate sponsors, who this year included: MP Biomedicals; Fisher Scientific; Stoelting Co.; Dionex; The Mind Science Foundation and The Society for Neuroscience, 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, UT Arlington and UTSA had quite the challenge, going up against last years champion, Trinity University. The UT Arlington Mavericks (pictured above with Mentor Linda Perrotti, Ph.D.) had just enough to overtake the UTSA Roadrunners and the Trinity University Tigers, in what was one of the closest margins of victory, less than 20 points, in Brain Bowl history. Congratulations to the 2013 Brain Bowl Champions, the UT Arlington Mavericks!!!

 

Watch the 2013 Brain Bowl web broadcast.

 

Watch the FOX29 KABB San Antonio 'Street's Corner' story, with reporter JT Street, on the 2013 Brain Bowl. (click the video to play when the page loads)

 

The 2013 Brain Bowl participants:

Trinity University University of Texas at Arlington University of Texas at San Antonio
Dr. James Roberts (Faculty Mentor) Dr. Linda Perrotti (Faculty Mentor) Dr. Brian Derrick (Faculty Mentor)
Scott Boop Aliza DeNobrega Salina Cram
Julia Chavez Matt Fisher Purna Desai
Kelly Hewes Gaurang Gupte Roberto Lerma
Philip Lavere John Perish Alyssa Petko
Brigette Lee Hannah Wriston Angela Vela
Lizna Makhani
Emily Nelson
Riley Newson
Michael Patton
Sophie Wardle
 
 

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