International Brain Bee

Brain Bee History

The program was founded in 1998 by Dr. Norbert Myslinski of the University of Maryland with 12 chapters across North America, in response to the growing incidence rates of neurological diseases. In his words, “The purpose of the IBB is to motivate young men and women to learn about the human brain and to inspire them to enter careers in research and clinical brain sciences. The world needs future clinicians and researchers to treat and find cures for more than 1000 neurological and psychological disorders.”


Visit the official homepage of the International Brain Bee for more information.

The Brain Bee competition platform is organized on three levels: local, national, and international. Local scientific institutions are licensed by the International Brain Bee (IBB) to carry out city-wide or regional events, engaging students from 14-18 years of age. The first-place prize winners are granted the opportunity to compete at the national level. The National Champions are, in turn, invited to represent their country at the annual international competition, which is hosted by different neuroscience organizations during an international conference.

The format of the competitions vary between events, but the most common program includes a live judging panel of neuroscientists, posing questions about neuroscience directly to the students, in a style much like a Spelling Bee. Hence, the name “Brain Bee”. Additional competition components include a neuroanatomy practical, neurohistology identification and characterization, patient diagnosis based on interactive medical examinations and video footage, and written exams

Partnerships with and support from universities, organizations, foundations, and companies make the Brain Bee possible. All coordination is done on a volunteer basis by leaders among scientific communities.

International Champions 2012 – current

  • The 2017 International Brain Bee World Championship will be in Washington D.C., USA, in conjunction with the American Psychological Association Annual Convention.
  • The 2016 International Brain Bee competition was held in Copenhagen, Denmark hosted by the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) 10th Forum of Neuroscience. The Champion of the 2016 International Brain Bee was Ana Ghenciulescu from Romania.
  • The 2015 International Brain Bee competition was  hosted for the first time by Australia at the joint meeting of the Australasian Neuroscience Society (ANS), the International Society for Neurochemistry (ISN) and the Asian Pacific Society for Neurochemistry (APSN). The competition was held at the Cairns Convention Centre (opens in new window), in Tropical North Queensland, in August  2015. The Champion of the 2015 International Brain Bee was Jade Pham from James Ruse Agriculture High School, Bankstown, NSW, Australia.
  • The 2014 International Brain Bee Championship was held in Washington, DC, in conjunction with the American Psychological Association Convention. Eva Wang from Brisbane represented Australia as our National Champion. The Champion of the 2014 International Brain Bee was Gayathri Muthukumar of Bangalore, India.
  • The 2013 International Brain Bee Championship (IBBC) was held in Vienna, Austria in conjunction with the 21st World Congress of Neurology. The 2013 Champion was Jackson Huang from the Academy for Science, Mathematics and Technology, Queensland.
  • The 2012 International Brain Bee Championship was held in Cape Town, South Africa in conjunction with the International Congress of Psychology. The 2012 Champion was Teresa Tang from Brisbane State High School in Australia.