NEOMED Faculty Help Northeast Ohio Students Shine at 2019 Brain Bee

Setting an alarm to get up early on a cold January Saturday may not seem like a fun time for anyone. But that’s exactly what several NEOMED faculty members did for the aspiring scientists participating in the 2019 NEOMED Brain Bee. And that’s just part of the story.

Matthew Smith, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences; Jeffrey Mellott, Ph.D., assistant professor of anatomy and neurobiology; Dana Peterson, Ph.D., associate professor of anatomy and neurobiology; and Jeffrey Wenstrup, professor and chair of anatomy and neurobiology, were all on hand to guide this year’s Brain Bee participants for the regional round of the annual neurobiology academic contest. Students prepared for the event with free monthly tutoring sessions hosted by Dr. Peterson on Saturday mornings throughout the year, allowing them to learn and prepare for the Bee. Drs. Mellott and Wenstrup served as judges, while Dr. Smith gave the keynote address, speaking about his career path in the neuroscience realm.

Aashi Anne (center of photo, with Dana Peterson, Ph.D., to her left and Jeffrey Wenstrup, Ph.D., to her right), a sophomore at Mayfield High School in Cleveland, came out on top at the NEOMED Brain Bee, held Sat., Jan. 12, and will advance to the National Brain Bee in Baltimore this spring.

Spreading the Bee

Dr. Peterson not only organized this year’s event – she’s also the person who helped bring the regional version of this national contest to NEOMED when she arrived as a faculty member in 2014.

Dr. Peterson had organized a Brain Bee at her previous workplace, the University of Alabama-Birmingham. After discovering that the Brain Bee did not have a presence in Northeast Ohio, Dr. Peterson approached Dr. Wenstrup about having NEOMED serve as a regional host. After five successful Brain Bees, Dr. Peterson is now working to bring the national Brain Bee competition to NEOMED, where the winners of all the regional Brain Bees will face off for the national title of “Best Brain.”

Congratulations to the three award winners of the 2019 NEOMED Brain Bee:

  • 1st place: Aashi Anne, Mayfield High School
  • 2nd place: Lipika Narisetti, Hilliard Darby High School
  • 3rd place (tie): Andrew Huang, Western Reserve Academy, and Sruthi Parthasarathy, Dublin Jerome High School
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