2017 Winners for “Design a Brain Experiment” Competition

The time has finally come to announce this year’s champions of the Dana Foundation’s annual “Design a Brain Experiment” competition, where we asked high school students across the country to try their hand at creating an original science experiment to test theories about the brain. Every year, the competition judges face the challenge of selecting two winners from a tall stack of impressive submissions. However, this year made history with a first-ever tie for our second-place winners!

Medha_Palnati FullSizeRender

Photo courtesy of Medha Palnati

The first place prize of $500 goes to Medha Palnati from Westford Academy in Massachusetts for her impressive submission, “The Use of CRISPR Technology to Test Gene Therapy as a Treatment to Early-Onset Familial Alzheimer’s Disease in Zebrafish.” Palnati’s proposal explores the potential of using an exciting new experimental form of gene therapy to treat early-onset Familial Alzheimer’s disease (FAD). FAD is usually caused by an inherited gene mutation and occurs in about five percent of all people with Alzheimer’s disease. Palnati’s research proposal uses zebrafish as a model to test this potential therapy.

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Submissions Due: Design a Brain Experiment Competition


For students still thinking about submitting a proposal for this year’s Design a Brain Experiment competition, you have just under one week before entries are due! All applicants have until Wednesday, January 11, to send their hypothetical brain experiment to competition@dana.org. Just remember to reference the competition guidelines to be sure all of the requirements are met.

Our scientific advisors will review all submissions after next week, and the winners will be announced during Brain Awareness Week (March 13-19). First and second place winners will receive cash prizes on behalf of their school or sponsoring nonprofit institution.

For any students who missed the chance to submit, not to worry. The Regional Brain Bee is another competition that’s coming up next month. To find a Brain Bee competition near you, use the Brain Awareness Week calendar of events to search your state.

Good luck!

2017 Design a Brain Experiment Competition


Students have just over one month to submit their entries to our annual Design a Brain Experiment competition! We’re looking for high school students in the US to take on the challenge of coming up with an original experiment focusing on the human brain. On January 11, 2017, all entries will be collected for review by our team of scientific advisors, led by neuroscientist Eric Chudler, Ph.D.

This is the sixth year the Dana Foundation will be awarding a $500 first place prize and a $250 runner-up prize to the schools or sponsoring nonprofit institutions of the winning students. Research proposals can investigate any part of neuroscience as long as it tests a theory about the brain. Just remember, the experiments are hypothetical, so students don’t need to actually complete them.

Last year’s winning submission was from New York’s Emery Powell, who focused on a potential therapy to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. For more details on how to enter, read through the official competition guidelines. Experiments will be judged on creativity, so we encourage students to think outside the box. The 2017 winners will be announced during Brain Awareness Week (March 13-19). Good luck!

Design a Brain Experiment Competition Deadline

The deadline for this year’s “Design a Brain Experiment” competition is exactly one month away! On January 15, all entries will be collected for review by our team of scientific advisors, led by neuroscientist Eric Chudler, Ph.D. The past four years of the competition resulted in impressive submissions from high school students nationwide, and we are eager to see what creative ideas are proposed this year.

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Design a Brain Experiment Competition


For a second straight year, the Dana
Foundation is calling on the future neuroscientists of America to submit their
most creative brain experiment ideas to the Design a Brain Experiment Competition. Last year we received some incredible submissions;
Examining the Molecular Mechanism for the
Behavioral Effects of Chronic Social Defeat on a Mouse Model
from Michaela Ennis at the Pingry School in New Jersey, was the winning

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