Talented high school students met to compete in the 9thDeutsche Neuroscience-Olympiade (DNO) at the Max-Delbrück-Center, on Saturday 2ndMarch. This event was the culmination of months of independent study into the workings of the brain and the nervous system. 

DNO, with support from our generous sponsors, the German Neuroscience Society, the Hertie Foundation and the Charité Berlin, collaborated to provide this exciting Olympiad for students to be tested in their neuroscience knowledge, an event which took placed during Brain Awareness week. DNO competitions are open to students between the age of 15-19 and are conducted exclusively in English.

Being a part of the competition was really amazing because we got to see real examples of the brain.”

Students’ knowledge was put to the test in a range of rigorous tasks starting with a short, written quiz. This was followed by one of the most exciting rounds from a student point of view: the neuroanatomy section. Students needed to identify brain structures using brain models and realhuman brains supplied by the anatomy department of the Charité. Rahel Kiss (17 years old) said “Being a part of the competition was really amazing because we got to see real examples of the brain.”

The patient diagnosis section was an engaging round for the students and the audience as it involved watching a short video of a patient followed by selecting diagnostic test results to be able to correctly identify the neurological disorder. Sanne van de Hoef  (16 years old) “I really like the Patient Diagnosis section […]. It’s a great opportunity to go through the process of looking at a patient’s behavior, their history, and lab results to determine what neurological disorder they might have. It is a real take home message that many different factors contribute to a given person’s disease and you have to look at and understand different pieces of information in order to treat a patient properly.”

1st place winner, Maria Koryakina, of the 2019 DNO-Berlin Regional Neuroscience Olympiad.

When students were not directly involved in competition, they could peruse our DNO poster presentation and visit the science corner. Dr Mostafa Nashaat and Dr Anja Dorrn brought their Backyard Brain SpikerBoxto entertain and educate in our science corner.

At the end of the day the student performances in each task were tallied and the top three winners and our congratulations go to first place Maria Koryakina, second place Aino Theede and third place Sophie Giese. The top 15 students have qualified to take part in the National Competition. We wish them all well for the next DNO event in Frankfurt on Saturday 11thMay.

Mandy Watson
Team Leader, DNO-Berlin

About the Author: Mandy Watson is a High School Science teacher and Administrator at the Berlin International School. Having written her dissertation in neurophysiology in 1996, she has have maintained her passion for all things neuroscience ever since. Mandy is a genuine pleasure to work with as she leads the dedicated team of volunteers making up DNO-Berlin!