History of the International Brain Bee
The International Brain Bee (IBB) is a neuroscience competition for high school students. Its purpose is to motivate young men and women to learn about the human brain, and to inspire them to enter careers in the basic and clinical brain sciences. The world needs future clinicians and researchers to treat and find cures for more than 1000 neurological and psychological disorders.
Dr. Norbert Myslinski founded the IBB at the University of Maryland in 1998 with 12 local chapters in North America. It has now grown to more than 150 chapters in more than 30 countries and six continents. Students advance through three tiers of competition from local to national and eventually to the International Championship. Approximately thirty thousand students compete annually. Most local coordinators are neuroscientists at universities. Others are teachers and administrators from high schools, museums, and industry who are interested in science education and community outreach. More than a hundred newspapers, radio and television stations cover the IBB and the student competitors, and about 50 web sites are devoted to IBB chapters. Winners have been recognized by Presidents and Ambassadors and other public officials. Many former competitors are now working in neuroscience, neurology, psychology and related fields.
Students prepare for the competition by studying books that are freely downloadable from the Internet in 20 different languages. Topics include brain functions such as sensations, intelligence, emotions, movement, and consciousness, and brain dysfunctions such as Alzheimer’s, autism, and addictions, as well as research techniques and medical technology. The competition format is basically oral question and answer, but at higher tiers may also involve neuroanatomy laboratory tests with human brains, neurohistology tests with microscopes, patient diagnosis with actors, and MRI brain imaging analysis.
The IBB is a non-profit grassroots effort funded mainly by private contributions, but also helped by dozens of partners including The Society for Neuroscience, The International Brain Research Organization, and many colleges, universities, foundations, museums, hospitals, libraries, institutes, societies, and commercial companies and businesses. Organizations, such as The American Psychological Association, The Canadian Association for Neuroscience, The International Brain Research Organization, and the International Congress of Psychology, host the IBB Championship at their annual conventions.
The new home for the IBB is the non-profit foundation named Mankind for International Neuroscience Development, Inc. (MIND, Inc.). In addition to the IBB, MIND, Inc. will initiate other neuroscience programs for high school students such as High School Neuroscience Clubs of America. The IBB continues to expand and to capture the imagination of young men and women around the world. We challenge educators and scientists to start a brain bee in their city. We challenge students to compete! It's fun, easy and rewarding.
Personal Life Story of the Brain Bee Founder
Norbert Myslinski is a neuroscientist who has devoted his professional life to teach about the human brain around the world. He helps fight neurological and psychological disorders by educating doctors, nurses, and research scientists in the field of neuroscience. He founded the International Brain Bee (IBB), and its mother organization, Mankind for International Neuroscience Development (MIND), to inspire and motivate young men and women to become professionals to treat and find cures for more than 1000 brain disorders. The IBB has now expanded to 150 chapters in 30 countries in 6 continents.
Born into a large family on a small farm in New York State, Norbert always had a passion for life. His grandparents fled from Poland to the United States just before World War I. His father fought in World War II, and Norbert served as a Captain in the Medical Service Corp during the Viet Nam War. A devoted Catholic all his life, Norbert was schooled by nuns and priests in elementary school, high school and college where he excelled as a star football player.
Norbert fell in love and married his high-school sweet heart who served as a nurse for the American Red Cross. They followed their dreams from Buffalo to Chicago to Boston to Baltimore for ten years, until she tragically died of a brain tumor. His father suffered from Guilain-Barre Syndrome and died of a stroke. His brother suffers from spinal cord injury and polyneuroma. His cousins are also victims of other brain disorders including multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, autism and drug addiction. Norbert cares for his mother who still lives with Alzheimer’s disease. Norbert eventually remarried and is the proud father of his son, Matthew, and daughter, Kelly.
Having received his doctorate in neuropharmacology from the University of Illinois, Norbert continued his training in post-doctoral studies in neurochemistry at Tuft’s University, sabbatical studies in sensory neurophysiology at Bristol University in England, as well as courses in cognitive neuroscience from Harvard University and journalism from Johns Hopkins University. He has served as a professor at the University of Maryland for the last four decades, and is adjunct professor in psychology at Stevenson University. He contributed to the curriculum of the Community College of Baltimore, the On-Line Laureate University, and the University of Dubai. He is also devoted to improving the lives of the lay public by giving free lectures at public libraries, museums, elementary schools, high schools, colleges, the deaf and the blind, the Baltimore Prison System and universities throughout the world.
Dr. Myslinski is the author of hundreds of professional and lay publications, recipient of millions of dollars in grant money, and numerous awards. Awards include the best All-Round Student Award from high school, Distinguished Military Graduate from college, the top Founder’s Day Award for Public Service from the University of Maryland at Baltimore, the Neuroscience Education Award from the Society for Neuroscience, Alumni of the Year Awards from Saint Mary’s High School and Canisius College, and Best Teacher of the Year Award. He was President of the Baltimore Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience. He has appeared dozens of times on television and radio, and has been cited hundreds of times in the press world-wide.
For the future, Dr. Myslinski remains devoted to his family and neuroscience education. Compassion for his fellow man drives him to continue building better brains to fight brain disorders. In order to provide a permanent home for the IBB, he created the non-profit foundation, Mankind for International Neuroscience Development, Inc. (MIND, Inc).