Sunday, October 04, 2015


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


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(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!



Oct. 2, 7:15 p.m.

First Friday Stargazing

Visit the Curtis Vaughan Observatory and see the wonders of the sky over San Antonio with experienced astronomers.
4th floor, Flawn Science Building, Main Campus

Oct. 3, 6:30 p.m.

Where Ink Does Not Show: A Celebration of the New State Poet Laureate

A fun and festive evening featuring Corridos from Texas and Northern Mexico sung by AZUL and a reading of new and classic works by Carmen Tafolla, the new State Poet Laureate.
Buena Vista Theater (1.326), Downtown Campus

Oct. 5, 1:30 p.m.

Campus Carry Listening Session

Listening session will seek input on the places, events and special circumstances that should be considered in determining whether concealed handguns may be prohibited.
John Peace Library, Faculty Center Assembly Room (JPL 4.04.22), Main 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

Oct. 5, 6 p.m.

Film Screening: The Head of Joaquin Murrieta by John Valadez

The Mexican American Studies Program will host a screening of this irreverent, entertaining and often disturbing tale that uses both fiction and documentary story telling devices to tear open a painful and long ignored history: the lynching of Mexican Americans in the southwest.
Buena Vista Building Aula Canaria (BV 1.328), Downtown Campus

Oct. 6, 3 p.m.

State of the University

Join President Ricardo Romo as he gives his address to the UTSA community.
H-E-B University Center Ballroom (UC 1.104), Main Campus

Oct. 8, 10 a.m.

Graduate Fair

Graduate School representatives from across the country will provide information on options after earning a bachelor's degree. Students, alumni and community members are welcome.
University Center Retama Galleria, Main Campus

Oct. 9, 8 a.m.

College of Sciences Research Conference

The day-long research conference will include a keynote address, faculty and student oral presentations, poster sessions, and an awards ceremony. Lunch will be provided for those who register. Abstract submission deadline is September 20, 2015. Event registration deadline is October 4, 2015.
H-E-B University Center, Main Campus

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UTSA writes the book on all-digital libraries

As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.

At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.

Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.

With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.

Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.

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