In the Fall of 2019, the Medicine and Biology Section of the Shevchenko Scientific Society gave a $2,000 grant to the Ukrainian Brain Bee (UBB), a neuroscience competition for high school students. The grant supported grassroots efforts of Ukrainian neuroscientists who volunteered to provide training for talented Ukrainian students and prepare them for participation in regional, national, and international Brain Bee competitions.
UBB is a part of the International Brain Bee competition founded by Dr. Norbert Myslinski at the University of Maryland. The Brain Bee competition is an international event annually held at a meeting of some of the largest professional organizations of neuroscientists, including Alzheimer’s Association, American Psychological Association (APA), the Dana Foundation, the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS), the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO), and the Society for Neuroscience (SfN).
Though the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the usual annual cycle of the competition, it took place in November of 2021 as a part of the Society for Neuroscience virtual meeting. A total of 43 students from 31 countries competed in two groups for years 2020 and 2021. Contestants answered challenging theoretical questions, described structures of human tissues under a microscope, and diagnosed patients based upon video footage and written medical history. Furthermore, top entrants in each group answered questions posed by the judging panel, representing prominent neuroscientists from all over the world.
Viktoriia Vydzhak, 11th grade student at School 125 in Kyiv, became the 2021 IBB World Champion, and and she also received the inaugural IBB Neuroanatomy/Histology Award, as the competitor with the top scores in both the neuroanatomy and neurohistology components of this year’s competition. Ostap Shyika, a sophomore at Ivano-Frankivsk National Medical University, was one of the 2020 finalists, which is another remarkable achievement for the UBB.