Somerville House Year 11 student Eva Wang has won the final of the 2013 Australian Brain Bee Challenge in Adelaide.

Outsmarting eight other finalists, Eva completed a series of examinations that included lab tests, microscope tests and brain imaging analysis to take out the national title.

“To win the Australian Brain Bee Challenge was an amazing and surreal experience, especially as I knew that the competition would be extremely tough,” says Eva. “I was also very relieved after the two days of intense competition and really happy that all my studying had paid off.”

The competition is run by The University of Queensland’s Queensland Brain Institute and aims to identify the student with the greatest neuroscience knowledge.

“The hardest section in the Australian Brain Bee Challenge by far was the patient diagnosis, where we watched 10 videos of people with particular neurologic conditions, for example Huntington’s Disease and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and we had to diagnose them with a particular disorder and the area of the neurologic lesion,” says Eva. “The symptoms displayed in some of the videos were rather unusual and atypical, such that Professor Koblar (who ran the challenge) stated the level of difficultly was similar to that of a third year medicine exam.”

Over 5,500 students from more than 300 schools participated in the competition last year, which aims to inspire careers as clinicians and researchers by motivating students to learn more about the human brain.

“At this point, I want to keep my options open, but I would love to study medicine at university and probably specialise in neuroscience to become a neurologist or neurosurgeon,” says Eva.

Eva will head to Washington DC in August to compete in the International Brain Bee Challenge, which coincides with the American Psychological Association Convention.

“I’ve never been to the US before so it will be lots of fun to visit the city, but on a serious note I know that the competition will only be getting harder and tougher and I have a lot of work ahead of me if I want to do well,” says Eva. “It is also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet other like-minded students from around the globe and experience the world of neuroscience through practical and anatomical exams.”