Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Let the mind games begin: Cerebral undergrads go head to head in Brain Bowl 2011

brain

Share this Story

(April 4, 2011)--At 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 5, undergraduate students from three Texas universities including UTSA will gather in a lecture hall at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio for an oddball tradition that has gained a devoted statewide following in its 14 years – Brain Bowl 2011. The event is free and open to the public.

The students, like hundreds before them, will be instructed to "Let the mind games begin!" With that, they will put their knowledge of neuroscience to the test in Brain Bowl 2011.

This year's meeting of the minds will be in Medical School Building Room 207L at the Health Science Center. More than a dozen students from The University of Texas at San Antonio, Baylor University and Texas A&M University will be peppered with questions from categories such as neuroanatomy, neurochemistry, and drugs and the brain.

Ahead of the competition, teams were given sample questions. Among them were:

  • Name the most prevalent inhibitory amino acid transmitter in the brain.
  • Sensory projections from the lateral geniculate nucleus terminate in what area of the cortex?
  • What ion is primarily responsible for depolarization of the axon during an action potential?

The handout describes these sample questions as "easier than most of the questions that will be asked."

The master of ceremonies will be David A. Morilak, professor of pharmacology, who created the Brain Bowl and has masterminded it ever since with assistance from a brain trust of faculty and staff from the Center for Biomedical Neurosciences at the UT Health Science Center.

Modeled on the 1960s quiz show "University Challenge," the Brain Bowl includes three rounds of short-answer questions -- each round more difficult than the last -- and a final complex challenge question.

The Brain Bowl is a labor of love for Morilak, who begins planning each year's competition almost six months beforehand. He corresponds one-on-one with competitors, getting to know them well enough to introduce them -- and perhaps tease them a little -- at the event, over which he presides with a comedian's patter and sense of timing.

Last year, he congratulated one student on her upcoming wedding and another for being her school's "fitness challenge sit-up champion," while confiding that a third "considers himself something of a late bloomer." Morilak also secures corporate sponsors, enlists a sometimes-raucous contingent of judges and scorekeepers and personally writes all 76 Brain Bowl questions.

Teams compete for the coveted Brain Bowl trophy, prizes and bragging rights. The competition also is intended as a way for students interested in neuroscience to establish relationships with Health Science Center faculty and graduate students. Several Brain Bowl competitors have gone on to study at the Health Science Center.

Over the years, many Texas universities have participated in the Brain Bowl, sometimes traveling hours for the honor. Past competitors include Southwestern University, St. Mary's University, Texas Lutheran University, Trinity University, University of Texas at Arlington and University of Texas at Austin.

This year's returning champion, Baylor, is the Brain Bowl's heavyweight, once going on a winning streak that stretched about a half-dozen years. Last year's victory re-established what Morilak described as "their interrupted era of Brain Bowl dominance." Baylor faces another past Brain Bowl champion, Texas A&M, as well as hometown favorite UTSA.

Without further ado, let the mind games begin!

 

 

Did You Know?

Football standouts make Roadrunner history

For Ashaad Mabry and Triston Wade, football is not just a passing fancy. Both players were part of the UTSA football program almost from the beginning. When UTSA opens the 2015 season Thursday at Arizona, it will be the first time the Roadrunners take the field without them. But Mabry and Wade will still be playing football; their uniforms will just be a different color.

Mabry, a defensive tackle from San Antonio's MacArthur High School, was an honorable mention All-Conference USA selection his final two seasons as a Roadrunner and second among the team's defensive linemen with 49 tackles last year. Wade, a defensive back from Tyler, was the most decorated player in school history. He was a semifinalist for the 2014 Jim Thorpe Award – for the nation's top defensive back – a three-time all-conference honoree and two-year team captain who set a school record of 293 tackles in his career. Both men had outstanding college careers that allowed them to make UTSA history.

Did you know? Mabry and Wade both agreed to terms as undrafted free agents with the New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks, respectively, becoming the first UTSA players to move to the professional ranks.

Read More »
Events
Sept. 7, All Day

Labor Day Holiday

All campuses will be closed for the Labor Day holiday.
All Campuses

Sept. 9, 5:30 p.m.

Architecture Connects

The UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning’s 2015-16 Speaker Series begins Sept. 9 with Toshiko Mori, the Robert P. Hubbard Professor in the Practice of Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and principal of Manhattan-based Toshiko Mori Architect.
Buena Vista Building Aula Canaria (BV 1.328), Downtown Campus

Sept. 12, 11 a.m.

UTSA Football vs. Kansas State

Cheer on the UTSA Roadrunners at their home-opener against the Kansas State Wildcats.
Alamodome, 100 Montana St.

Sept. 15, 5:30 - 7 p.m.

Changing the Conversation: Recovery Works!

As part of National Recovery Month, a panel of substance abuse practitioners and members of the recovery community will discuss issues related to substance abuse treatment and recovery.
Durango Building 1.124 (DB 1.124), Downtown Campus

Sept. 24, 6 p.m.

The Power of Story in the Landscape of Memory and Identity

The UTSA College of Education and Human Development will host award-winning children’s author and illustrator Yuyi Morales. Morales will share personal stories that have influenced her work as an author and illustrator.
Buena Vista Building Aula Canaria (BV 1.328), Downtown Campus

Oct. 5, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Civic Engagement Summit

This summit is an opportunity to showcase and share the variety of community engagement activities of UTSA students, faculty, and staff. The summit is currently accepting proposals for poster presentations. The Call for Posters deadline is Friday, Sept. 11.
University Center Denman Room (2.01.28), Main Campus


Other Calendars
» UTSA Events | » Academic | » Institute of Texan Cultures

Submit an Event


Meet a Roadrunner

Teja Guda '08 is an engineer on the cutting edge

Biomedical engineering alum and professor is working to regenerate tissue

UTSA's Mission

The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

UTSA's Vision

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA's Core Values

We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.

Connect with UTSA News

       


Related Links

Back to Top

2015 © The University of Texas at San Antonio  |  Produced by University Communications and Marketing