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The 5th Annual JMU Brain Bee will be held Saturday, Feb. 4th, 2023. 

Registration will open November 14th. Deadline for registration is Jan. 20th.

2023 Individual Registration Form (open Nov 14th)

2023 Group Registration Form- for teachers (open Nov. 14th)

Update: We have reached our max capacity of 50 students as of Jan. 16th and therefore need to close registration 4 days early. If you are part of an already registered school group, but you haven't registered yourself yet, please contact Dr. Cresawn ( for an exception.

About the JMU Brain Bee 

The first annual JMU Brain Bee was held in February 2019. Dr. George Vidal, associate professor of Biology, is the director of the JMU Brain Bee. Dr. Vidal earned his A.B. in Neurobiology from Harvard University and his Ph.D. in Neurosciences from Stanford University. Dr. Vidal currently teaches courses in Neuroanatomy, Neuroscience, and Human Anatomy and mentors undergraduates studying the development of cerebral cortex connections. Dr. Vidal competed in the Brain Bee as a high school student and he credits this experience with inspiring his pursuit of neuroscience.

See photos from our first four years of the JMU Brain Bee-These images are from three in-person and 1 virtual Bee (in 2021). Note, real human brains were used in questions for our virtual Bee and hands-on experiences for our in-person Bees, but are not shown in photos to respect the donors and their families. 

Our Bee is:

  • Open to all students ages 13-19 in VA
  • Held on a Saturday in early-mid February on the campus of JMU. 
  • Parents and guardians, siblings, teachers, and other supporters are welcome to attend as audience members.
  • Broken into three different formats; group, individual and finalists rounds. All questions come from the free online book, Brain Facts.
  • Hands-on and fun. Between the group/individual and finalists rounds, participants have lunch in our award-winning East Campus dining hall and visit JMU's neuroscience labs to participate in hands-on experiences with neuroscience faculty and students. 
  • All-you-care-to-eat tickets for lunch at E-Hall can be purchased for $15.25. Students enrolled in schools with 50% or greater Free/Reduced lunch eligibility will be able to purchase tickets for $7.50.
  • A friendly, welcoming, and low-pressure environment. 
  • Supportive. The winner will be invited to compete in the National Competition, which will be held at UC Irvine in the Spring of 2023 (date TBD, usually in April).

Feature Story about the JMU Brain Bee 

As a Center dedicated to inclusive STEM opportunities that are both accessible and welcoming to all, this is what the STEM Center loves most about Dr. Vidal's design of the JMU Brain Bee...

We believe we've found a way to recognize, reward, and continue fostering talent while also creating a friendly, fun, and no-stress environment for ALL participants regardless of their background in neuroscience or time to prepare.

-Dr. K. Cresawn  

See what we mean in the two quotes below:

"In my awards speech [at the National Bee], I gave special kudos to you, Dr. Vidal, for giving me an incredible opportunity to work with real brains. I got a perfect score on the wet-lab portion, so thank you very much for dedicating your Saturday to help me prepare for that."

- winner of JMU Bee and 2nd-place runner up at the National Bee

"The best part of the JMU Brain Bee was interacting with the other contestants! I found it very cool to meet people from all over the state from different backgrounds. Everyone was so nice too, so it made things all the more enjoyable!"

- JMU Brain Bee participant

About the USA Brain Bee Organization

The USA Brain Bee was founded in 1998 and is the world-wide neuroscience competition for high school students. The Brain Bee motivates students to learn about the brain, captures their imaginations, and inspires them to pursue neuroscience careers in order to help treat and find cures for neurological and psychological disorders. There are currently over 200 Local Chapter Brain Bee coordinators in more than 50 countries across 6 continents that conduct competitions annually. The winner of each Regional Brain Bee is invited to represent their regions in the National Bee and the winner of the National Bee is invited to compete in the International Brain Bee World Championship. The World Championship is hosted by a different country every year.

Brain Bees test one's knowledge of the human brain including such topics as intelligence, emotions, memory, sleep, vision, hearing, sensations, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, schizophrenia, epilepsy, depression, addictions and brain research. The local competitions are in the question-and-answer format based on material from "Brain Fact", a book that is available online at no cost. The championship competitions may also involve a neuroanatomy laboratory practical with real human brains, neurohistology with microscopes, brain imaging identification and patient diagnosis with patient actors. Source:

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