On the 2nd of March, Life&Brain Center welcomed for the 3nd time the regional DNO Bonn competition. Even though it was Carnival time and most people in the Bonn and Cologne region were off to celebrating this colorful day, we still welcomed 31 enthusiastic participants, eager to challenge their knowledge in neuroscience during out. It was a day full of cheers, laughter and shared passion for neuroscience. As usual the neuroscience expo was not only an interesting exhibition with scientific facts and information but also a small hub where parents, teachers, DNO members and students to learn about the brain. In keeping with the spirit of Brain Awarenesses Week, our neuroscience expo provided a great opportunity for current and future scientists to meet up and discuss topics of their interest. As for the hungry and tired ones the DNO Bonn team had prepared a small buffet with snacks and drinks to refuel in between the competition rounds. Yes, the brain needs a lot of energy, especially when faced with a written exam, neuroanatomy section and patient diagnosis part.

DNO Bonn 2019 winners accompanied by this year’s jury members Dr. Laura Ewell (left) and Dr. Martin Fuhrmann (right): 1st Luisa Kües (middle), 2nd place Nicole Schiweck (left), 3rd place Annabel Macphee (right).

Among our young enthusiastic competitors, we got the three winners of the regional DNO Bonn 2019. These are Annabel Macphee from Konrad-Adenauer-Gymnasium in Meckenheim (3rd place), Nicole Schiweck from Stefansberg Gymnasium in Merzig (2nd place), and the 1st place winner this year Luisa Kües from Gymnasium Nordhorn, Niedersachsen. Family members working in the field of neuroscience are among the reasons which woke their initial curiosity in the field and all of them have keen interest in pursuing a career in neuroscience and biology. It was nice to hear from Annabel (3rd place), that the DNO study guide was what caught her interest in neurobiology. Nicole’s (2nd place) dream is to become a doctor and she has the clear intention of going for an exchange semester in Oxford as part of her studies. Luisa (1st place) also shares with us that she is interested in studying medicine but would ultimately like to pursue a scientific career, while Annabel is wishing for a career which brings her fulfillment and happiness, most probably in the field of neuroscience. Of course, besides spending time over the study books, these girls also have a plenty of hobbies like sports, horse riding and even ballet dancing. When we asked our winners what they enjoyed the most from the DNO competition – they all liked the patient diagnosis part as they could directly have an idea about the impact of neurodegenerative conditions and the importance of getting involved in this field as a way to help people. We would like to wholeheartedly wish the best of luck to our winners and all participants in this year’s regional DNO event in making their dreams come true and following their scientific passion!  

Vesselina Semkova
PCR Team leader

About the author: Vesselina is a phD student in the Institute of Reconstructive Neurobiology, University of Bonn. Working in the field of stem cell research and neurobiology with an emphasis on regulation of cellular redox mechanisms, she has keen interest in mind and body ‘’hacking’’ nutrition and life style. In her free time she enjoys sports, cooking and travelling. She loves the idea of spreading awareness to the importance of science and waking up the interest of it in young people so she became a part of DNO Bonn when it was established back in 2016.