AnnouncementsNeural Excitability, Synapses, and Glia

Palm Beach County Students Compete in Max Planck Florida’s Brain Bee Challenge

The Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI) held its 8th annual Brain Bee Challenge Saturday April 6, 2019. Nervous excitement filled the room as 57 Palm Beach County students readied themselves for a thrilling competition that would show which team knew the most about the brain. But the excitement was quickly replaced by confusion, when the first question was read: “What part of the brain is necessary for a Zombie to walk?”


While the first question was an ice breaker and a joke, the rest of the competition was no laughing matter as students in teams of three answered questions about learning and memory, emotion, sensation, movement, aging, neurobiology, brain anatomy and neural disorders.

In the end, two teams from FAU Henderson High School took the top two spots, with a third-place team coming from American Heritage School of Boca and Delray.

“We are so impressed with the number of young students in our community who are passionate about science and understanding the brain,” said Dr. Ilaria Drago, MPFI Education Outreach Coordinator. “Brain Bee is one of our signature events that we hold each year to raise awareness of the field of neuroscience and to help inspire the next generation of scientists.”

The 2019 Brain Bee Challenge also featured another competition as students, teachers, and parents tuned into a live webcast of the event hosted by the hosts of Max Planck Florida’s Neurotransmissions Podcast, Misha Smirnov and Joe Schumacher. The school with the most online participation won a 3D printer, courtesy of the Mary and Robert Pew Public Education Fund. More than 245 people watched the competition online, with Jupiter High School making up 60% of the online audience and winning the 3D printer.

The Max Planck Florida Brain Bee Challenge is held each year to increase public awareness of the importance, progress and benefits of brain research. The event is sponsored by the Mary and Robert Pew Public Education Fund. The Florida-based public education foundation has supported the event since its inception in 2012.