Newark New Jersey Regional Brain Bee

The Brain Bee is a local and international Question & Answer competition, similar to a spelling bee, which tests the neuroscience knowledge of high school students on such topics as brain structures, learning, memory, sleep, vision, and movement. All questions require one-word, or one-phrase answers, and come from the 2018 edition of the book “Brain Facts,” available for download through Please link to: A limited number of hard copies will be provided by contacting Dr. Levison (see below).

Three-Step Process

In a three-step process, a regional competition are held first throughout North America. The regional winners are then invited to the National Brain Bee championship competition at the University of Maryland during Brain Awareness Week. The National Brain Bees are the second qualifying round of the International Brain Bee (IBB) competition where the winners from each country's National Brain Bee will be invited to the International Brain Bee competition.

The Newark NJ Regional Brain Bee is sponsored jointly by the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Neuroscience and the Rutgers University Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research.

The Newark NJ Regional Brain Bee will next be held on Sunday, February 9th, 2020.

The Newark NJ Brain Bee will start at 1:00 pm.


Registration is free and open to all students who wish to participate. Please click on the Registration Link to register. Registered students will receive an e-mail confirmation and further information by email prior to the competition date (directions, room location, etc.).

We are no longer accepting applications for the February 9th Brain Bee.


Cash prizes for the Newark NJ Brain Bee will be provided for first through third places:
First place: $300 | Second place: $200 | Third place: $100.

In addition, reasonable travel expenses (lodging, food and transportation) will be reimbursed in accordance with University policy, to the first place winner to attend the National Brain Bee competition in Maryland in March (competitor + parent/guardian).  Also, the winner of the Regional competition will be eligible for a stipend and summer internship in the laboratory of a neuroscientist.

The US National Champion will receive $1,500, a paid summer internship with an esteemed neuroscientist, and a trip for two to the International Brain Bee Championship. The second place finisher will receive $1,000, and the third place finisher will receive $500.

Currently, the winner of the International Brain Bee Championship will be awarded $3,000, a summer research fellowship with an acclaimed neuroscientist, a traveling trophy for display at his or her school and an all expenses paid trip to the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting. The second place finisher will receive $2,000, and the third place finisher will receive $1,000.

Information on the Central New Jersey Regional Brain Bee Competition sponsored by RWJMS may be found at:



Brain Facts Sample Questions


Rutgers Newark Regional Brain Bee Rules

Students may enter only one Regional brain bee competition.

A panel of neuroscientists will serve as judges and score-keepers, and their decisions will be final.

The Competition Format
The competition will have two phases.

Phase 1:
All contestants will be provided a 12 question short written exam. Students who answer 75% or more of the questions correctly will proceed to phase II.

Phase II:
Each question will be given to the group as a whole.

The competitors will be provided 20 seconds to write their answers on answers sheet. After each question (or round), the head judge will evaluate each competitor's answer.

Competitors with correct answers will continue to the next round.

Competitors will be eliminated after they have answered 3 questions incorrectly.

The recorder will indicate when a contestant is eliminated.

If, at the end of a round, only one person has correctly answered the question, then that person is declared the winner.

The name of the individual winner will be submitted to the organizers of the National Brain Bee, which will be held in March 14th and 15th at the University of Maryland at Baltimore.

Organizer for the Newark NJ Brain Bee:
Steven W. Levison, PhD
Professor of Neuroscience
Director, Laboratory for Regenerative Neurobiology
Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Neuroscience
Rutgers University
RBHS-New Jersey Medical School
Cancer Center, H-1226
205 South Orange Ave
Newark, NJ, 07103
PH (973) 972-5162
Fax (973) 972-2668


John Yang went on to win the 2019 National Brain Bee

Left to right
Julia Collin, Piscataway, New Jersey, Second Place
John Yang, Newark, New Jersey, First Place
Claire Wang, Los Angeles, California, Third Place

Click here for the press release


Meet the Participants of the 2019 Newark NJ Brain Bee

Twenty-nine students representing 16 high schools participated in the Rutgers Newark New Jersey Regional Brain Bee held on the RBHS Newark campus on February 10th, 2019.  Congratulations to John Yang from Princeton High School (1st place) and to Angela Lin, Academy for Allied Health Sciences and Claire Ho from Ridge High School who tied for 2nd place. Also pictured are event organizers, Vanessa Swantic (NJMS, 2nd yr), Michelle Frondelli, (SGS, 3rd yr), Vincent Dodson (NJMS, 4th yr), Steven Levison (NJMS Faculty) and Hunter Lanovoi (SGS, 1st yr).

Keynote speaker, Dr. Catherine Mazzola