15th Annual Center for Biomedical Neuroscience (CBN)
Brain Bowl Competition 


Congratulations to University of Texas at Arlington!

2014 Brain Bowl Champions!!

UTA 2014 Brain Bowl Champions

Cerebral undergrads go head to head in Brain Bowl 2014


On Tuesday evening, April 29th, 2014, 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 15 years.


More than a dozen students from Texas A&M 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 Center for Biomedical Neuroscience (CBN), who created the Brain Bowl and has masterminded it ever since with assistance from a brain trust of faculty and staff from the 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; Thermo Fischer; Stoelting Co.; Dionex; The Mind Science Foundation; Biosensis and The Society for Neuroscience, enlists a sometimes-raucous contingent of judges and scorekeepers and personally writes the 75+ 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.


For the second year in a row, UT Arlington claimed the top spot! The UT Arlington Mavericks (pictured above with Mentor Linda Perrotti, Ph.D.) opened a small lead on competitors Texas A&M Univerisity and the UTSA, that they never relinquished. Congratulations to the 2014 Brain Bowl Champions, the UT Arlington Mavericks!!!


Watch the 2014 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 2014 Brain Bowl participants:

Texas A&M University University of Texas at Arlington University of Texas at San Antonio
Dr. Caurnel Morgan (Faculty Mentor) Dr. Linda Perrotti (Faculty Mentor) Dr. Brian Derrick (Faculty Mentor)
Kaylee Davis Matthew Fisher Megan Aumann
Caleb Gottlich Christopher Folk Albert Darakjy
Simon Lee Gaurang Gupte Robert Garcia
John Perish Alfredo Gutierrez
Breeanne Soteros Alysson Klein
Andrew Womack
Danica Womack

View the CBN Brain Bowl 2014 Photo Gallery