British Brain Bee

National British Brain Bee Championship 2023



National British Brain Bee Championship 2023

February 9th, 2023


After the challenging Online British Brain Bee competition 2023, 32 students from across the UK were invited to the National British Brain Bee 2023 competition which was held on Saturday, February 4th, 2023 at London Metropolitan University. In the first live event since 2019 participants, their families, and volunteers were involved in a fun day of exciting talks and interactive competitions. The British Brain Bee is the UK’s premier neuroscience competition for teenagers which has been running since 2016. Founded by Martyna Petrulyte, the competition aims to inspire young people to choose a career in brain science. 

National Brain Bee 2023


Day activities

The day started off with getting to know other participants, their families, and volunteers through a game of “Human Bingo”. With clues like “Find someone who has read a book by Oliver Sacks” or “Someone who wants to study medicine at university”, this game enabled us to find out a lot more about the attendees of this event and provided a gateway to lots of interesting conversations. Congratulations to Analiese Fajemirokun who won this game and achieved “Bingo”, and therefore met 16 of her fellow participants in under 20 minutes! Other games played throughout the day included a Neuroscience-Themed Pictionary with clues including “Stem Cells” and “Corpus Callosum”. An interactive question and answer board around the venue also enabled participants to engage in big questions like “If you were given £10 million, what would you research?” and “In your opinion, what is the greatest neuroscience discovery of the 20th century and why?”. Many wonderful discussions were started as a consequence of this and great research proposals were created including plans to better understand the molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration and neuropsychiatric disorders.

Interactive neuroscience experiments with volunteers from Sainsbury Wellcome Center


Guest speakers

Two guest speakers were invited to the event to inspire students about the importance of neuroscience. 

Jeremy Chabros, University of Cambridge

Jeremy Chabros is a medical student at the University of Cambridge. He represented Poland at the International Brain Bee 2016 in Copenhagen and has been involved in organising the Polish and British competitions ever since. Beyond making neuroscience more popular, he combines computational and engineering methods with clinical neuroscience. He is currently working with the Brain Physics Lab, Division of Neurosurgery, at the University of Cambridge. He is also a core member of the Synaptic & Network Development Group, a joint project between Harvard Medical School and the University of Cambridge. In his talk, Jeremi shared his exciting career from the Polish Brain Bee to becoming a medical student at Cambridge. 

The second speaker was Professor Gareth Barnes who works on the development of human brain imaging systems. His expertise is in magnetoencephalography (MEG), or the measurement of magnetic fields from the human brain. He graduated as an electronic engineer at the University of York and completed his PhD at Aston University. Since 2009, he has been head of the MEG laboratories at University College London. In the event, he presented the current news in the field of magnetoencephalography.

Prof Gareth Barnes talking about magnetoencephalography


At the competition, students sat 3 rigorous exams: 

MCQ exam

  • MCQ exam with 55 neuroscience questions which students had to answer in 45 minutes;
  • Neuroanatomy and Neurohistology exam with 20 brain anatomy and histology structures to be identified in 20 minutes;
  • Patient diagnosis exam with 12 patient cases that students had to analyze and come up with the correct diagnosis in 20 minutes.

Neurohistology exam

Anatomy exam

After the exams were marked by judges, based on their total combined scores the Top 10 students were selected. They qualified for the Live question-and-answer round which took place in front of a large audience with three prominent neuroscientist judges.


Live Q&A and judges


The judging panel of the National Brain Bee 2023 competition. From left to right: Dr Cassandra Terry, Dr Elizabeth Prabhakar, and Prof Gareth Barnes  


In the live Q&A session, 3 renowned scientists were appointed as judges.

  • Dr Cassandra Terry is a Reader (Associate Professor) in Protein Pathology for the School of Human Sciences at the London Metropolitan University. She teaches a range of topics within biosciences and supervises postgraduate and undergraduate research projects in the laboratory including PhD students. Her research is focused on protein misfolding disorders such as type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. 
  • Dr Elizabeth Prabhakar is an experienced educator with lead roles at previous medical and dental schools, Barts and The London, Malta Campus, and Plymouth University. Elizabeth’s research area focuses on evidence-based medical education at Brunel University London.
  • Prof Gareth Barnes works on the development of human brain imaging systems. His expertise is in Magnetoencephalography (MEG). He graduated as an electronic engineer at the university of York and completed his PhD at Aston University. Since 2009 he has been head of the MEG laboratories at University College London.


Live Q&A round of the National Brain Bee 2023

Students were given 15 questions to answer in 45 seconds. The judges then evaluated the correctness of each answer and gave points for every correct answer. Students had to answer such questions as: “Wallerian degeneration affects which part of the neuron?”, “Which gyrus is the home for the “grandmother” neurons responsible for face perception and object recognition?” and “What is the main function of the radial glial cells?”. 

Live Q&A round

Winners and Awards ceremony

After an intense battle, Top 3 students were announced during the Awards ceremony. 

3rd place – Luisa Vasques Callegari

2nd place – Chau Chun Hei

1st place 2023 National Brain Bee Champion – Kornelia Bartoszewicz


Top 3 winners and judges of the National Brain Bee 2023 competition


The winners received neuroscience textbooks, Amazon Gift cards, and a Brain Bee trophy as well as a medal. All competitors received certificates of participation. The first-place winner will be invited to represent the UK in the International Brain Bee competition which will be held later in August in Washington, D.C.


Miss Kornelia Bartoszewicz, National British Brain Bee 2023 Champion


International Brain Bee

The champion of the National British Brain Bee competition 2023 will be able to participate in the International Brain Bee (IBB). As was announced in early December, the 2023 IBB World Championship will be held virtually in conjunction with the American Psychological Association (APA) Convention 2023 in Washington, DC. The tentative dates for the World Championship are August 3-5. 

Little cupcakes for all the guests and participants of the National Brain Bee 2023 competition 


Brain Bee competitors and volunteers

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