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High school students buzzing about neuroscience

Q: Which part of a neuron is specialised for receiving inputs from other neurons?*

This was one of the questions put to 80 year 10 students who visited UNSW Sydney last week for the Australian Brain Bee Challenge (ABBC) NSW finals.

The competition promotes the learning of scientific research to high school students and provides an introduction to university education and careers in neuroscience.

The winner was Wenjing Chen of James Ruse Agricultural High School, and the school also took out the team prize.

Dr Cherylea Browne, Conjoint Lecturer in the UNSW School of Medical Sciences, says it’s a great way to show students the options for career pathways in medicine.

“For me this is about opening their eyes to what’s out there and the possibility that this could be a career for them in the future,” she said.

UNSW Scientia Professor Gary Housley says it’s important that high school students have a positive experience of studying science.

The event also introduces them - as well as their teachers and parents – to the program at UNSW Medicine, with various tours and talks held on the day of the quiz.

Wenjing Chen will progress to the national final to be held at the Australian Neuroscience Society conference.

*A: Dendrite

Photo: 2017 NSW State Champion, Wenjing Chen from James Ruse Agricultural High School, pictured here with state coordinators Gary Housley and Cherylea Browne, and Professor Simon Killcross. Photo by Jared Shaw.