Akhil Kondepudi wins National Brain Bee Championship

Akhil Kondepudi from St. Louis, Missouri, has won the Eleventh USA National Brain Bee Championship which was held at the University of Maryland in Baltimore from March 15 to 18.

Winners from 54 Chapter competitions in 37 states gathered to test their knowledge of the human brain.

The national competition tests high school students on a range of topics covering all aspects of neuroscience, including intelligence, emotions, memory, sleep, neurodegenerative diseases, schizophrenia, addictions and the senses.

The competition involved a neuroanatomy laboratory practical exam with real human brains, patient diagnosis with patient actors, neurohistology, brain MRI imaging identification and orals, and was sponsored by the Department of Neural and Pain Sciences of the University of Maryland’s School of Dentistry.

Kondepudi will represent the United States at the World Brain Bee Championship hosted by the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies in July. Besides a monetary prize Kondepudi was also given an 8-week internship in a neuroscience laboratory, a donation was given to the Disabled American Veterans as well.

Six other Indian Americans were among the top 10 winners: Hemanth Asirvatham of Minneapolis, Minnesota; Sehej Bindra of Piscataway, New Jersey; Sneha Shinde of Rootstown, Ohio; Aayush Setty of Atlanta, Georgia; Lasya Kambhampati of Kansas City, Kansas; Veda Chanda of Hershey, Pennsylvania.

The USA Brain Bee is an Official Regional Brain Bee of the International Brain Bee which is lead by a Board of Directors from the Society for Neuroscience, the American Psychological Association, the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, The International Brain Research Organization, and the Federation of European Neurosciences Societies.

Currently there are about 200 Brain Bee Chapters in about 50 countries in 6 continents. Each Chapter conducts a competition involving many high schools, those winners represent their cities at their respective National Championships and each National Champion is then invited to compete in the World Championship held every year in a different city.

The competition involved a neuroanatomy laboratory practical exam with real human brains, patient diagnosis with patient actors, neurohistology, brain MRI imaging identification and a question-and-answer session.

kondepudi, for taking the top prize, was awarded with $1,500 and an eight-week internship in a neuroscience lab, and will represent the U.S. at the World Brain Bee Championship in Berlin in July. Indian American Hemanth Asirvatham of Minneapolis, Minn., took second; and Sehej Bindra of Piscataway, N.J., took third and were awarded $1,000 and $500, respectively.

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