Swayne Lab Volunteer Heads to National Neuroscience Competition

Emily Wang, who volunteers in the Swayne Lab, will compete in the CIHR Canadian National Brain Bee championship on May 24 & 25.

Emily Wang, a Grade 11 student who volunteers in the Swayne Lab, is headed to the CIHR Canadian National Brain Bee championship at McMaster University this weekend (May 24 & 25). The competition tests knowledge of neuroscience and skills at patient diagnosis and neuroanatomy.

“It’s super exciting!” says the Mount Douglas Secondary School student. “It was nice my hard work paid off.”

“Emily is really enthusiastic about volunteering in the lab, as well as about neuroscience and learning as much as she can for the Brain Bee,” says Dr. Leigh Anne Swayne, who began the Victoria Brain Bee chapter in 2012.

“I find learning very rewarding,” says Emily. “And what’s cooler than learning about learning?”

To secure her place in the nationals, Emily beat eight competitors in the Victoria Brain Bee annual competition this April. This was her second year competing and first time winning the local contest. 


Swayne began the Victoria chapter to “reach out to local students and give them an opportunity to learn more about neuroscience and what type of research is going on in the Division of Medical Sciences at UVic,” she says. All of the Victoria competitors get to tour the Swayne Lab, which is how Emily came to volunteer there one day per week.

Emily, who also has an interest in technology, would like to study biomedical engineering or health sciences in university. She would eventually like to get into medicine, perhaps even neurosurgery.

“She has a great positive ‘can-do’ attitude and a superb aptitude for research and neuroscience,” Swayne says.  

The top three winners of the Canadian National Brain Bee will receive trophies and cash prizes. The first-place winner will also represent the country at the International Brain Bee in Daegu, South Korea, this September.