Students compete in 4 challenges, including an anatomy challenge, a written short answer challenge, a patient diagnosis challenge and a live question and answer challenge.

2023 National Finals

The 2023 finals of the Australian and New Zealand Brain Bee were held December in conjunction with the ANS annual meeting in Brisbane. The final round, where 10 regional finalists battled it out, was held live onstage at the W Brisbane, from 12-1pm on 5th December. The New Zealand 2023 champion is Xin-Xin Zhu from the North Island and the Australian 2023 Champion is Samuel Richards from WA. Both of these incredible young neuroscientists will be competing in the International Brain Bee competition later this year.

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2022 National Finals

The 2022 National Finals of the Australian Brain Bee and the NZ Brain Bee were held on December 5th and 6th, 2022 in conjunction with the ANS Conference, at the Pullman Hotel, Melbourne. 10 students represented the 8 states/territories of Australia and the two islands of NZ, to find an Australian and an NZ Brain Bee Champion.

It was the most collaborative group of students that we have ever had the pleasure of seeing in the finals. Instead of being competitive against each other, they formed study groups to help each other, what's app groups to stay in touch and exchanged emails and phone numbers for keeping together as friends - as one of the girls said to me - "It was wonderful finding other nerds like me who loved science!" 

They really took on board the ethos that Linda Richards, our past ANS President and founder of the Brain Bee in Australia has wanted to promote - helping and supporting each other to do the best they all could, and still remaining friends despite the  "competition".

Here are two photos of the student interactions showing this collaborative and friendship: 

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2022 National Champions

 Braeden_Van_de_Beek.png  Stanley_Zhang.png

 AUS: National Champion

Braeden van de Beek, John Monash Science School

 NZ: National Champion

Stanley Zhang, Auckland Grammar School

2018 National Finals 

The National Finals for the 2018 Australian and New Zealand Brain Bee Challenges were held at the Brisbane Convention Centre in December, 2018. The event was timed to be held during the Annual Conference of the Australasian Neuroscience Society, which gave finalists a great opportunity to see and hear some of the latest developments in neuroscience across Australsia and the world. Finalists were treated to visits and tours at the Queensland Brain Institute prior to the finals competition.

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In a closely fought contest,  Sophia Ye was the winner of the New Zealand Brain Bee Challenge and Silas Hansch-Maher was the winner of the Australian Brain Bee Challenge. 

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Top photo: Professor Linda Richards (Past President, Australasian Neuroscience Society) with Silas Hansch-Maher (Australian winner)

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Middle photo: Professor Cliff Abraham (Current President, Australasian Neuroscience Society) with Sophia Ye (New Zealand winner)  

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Bottom photo: Emeritus Professor Alan Mackay-Sim (Chief Guest) with Silas Hansch-Maher (Australian winner)  and Jennifer Mai (Australian runner-up)


2016 National Finals

The 2016 National Finals for the Australian and New Zealand Brain Bee Challenges were held at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Hobart, December 2016. The event occurred in parallel with the 2016 Australasian Neuroscience Society meeting, giving competitors a fantastic opportunity to immerse themselves in the latest neuroscience research from all over Australia, and attend seminars from leading national and international neuroscience researchers.

ABBC national finals finalists 2016

Back row: from left to right: Anthony Tew, Joe Hedger, Lily Haley, Jonathan Lee, Stefan Ivanov, Shambhavi Mishra. Front row from Left to right: Jenny Rodger, Risini Gamage, Tatiana Kurniawan, Alysha Wanigaratne, Daniel Wei, Charles Watson.

In a closely fought contest the winner of the Australian Brain Bee Challenge was Risini Gamage from New South Wales, while Stefan Ivanov was the New Zealand winner. 

Photo from left: Professor Charles Watson (ABBC Judge and Facilitator), Stefan Ivanov (New Zealand winner), Risini Gamage (Australian winner), A/Prof Jenny Roger (Acting Coordinator, ABBC).



  • ACT Finalist - Jonathan Lee, Canberra Grammar School, Red Hill
  • NSW Finalist - Risini Gamage, The Illawarra Grammar School, Mangerton
  • NT Finalist – Joe Hedger, MacKillop Catholic College, Lake Bennett
  • QLD Finalist – Shambhavi Mishra, Queensland Academy for Science, Mathematics and Technology, Indooroopilly
  • SA Finalist – Anthony Tew, Pembroke School, Kensington Park
  • TAS Finalist – Lily Haley, St Helens District High School, St Helens
  • VIC Finalist – Alysha Wanigaratne, John Monash Science School, Rowville
  • WA Finalist – Tatiana Kurniawan, St Hilda's Anglican School for Girls, Dalkeith


  • ACT Finalist - Michael Nguyen, Canberra Grammar School, Red Hill
  • NSW Finalist - Onur Tanglay, Sydney Secondary College, Balmain
  • NT Finalist – Daniel Green, Casuarina Senior College, Casuarina
  • QLD Finalist – Abigail Green, Somerville House, South Brisbane
  • SA Finalist – Sarah Dinh, Wilderness School, Medindie
  • TAS Finalist – Patrick McDevitt, St Virgils College, Austins Ferry
  • VIC Finalist – Nebula Chowdhury, McRobertson Girls High School, Kings Way
  • WA Finalist – Zhong Xien Yeoh,Shenton College, Shenton Park



  • Stefan IvanovWestlake Boys School, Forest Hill
  • Daniel Wei, Riccarton High School, Upper Riccarton


  • Matthew Fulton, Auckland Grammar School, Newmarket, Auckland
  • Kate Jenkins, St Margaret's College, Merivale, Christchurch


National Champions 2006-2014


  • 2016: Risini Gamage, NSW.
  • 2015: Onur Tanglay, NSW. Runner-up: Nebula Chowdhury, VIC.
  • 2014: Jade Pham, NSW. Jade went on to win Round 4, the International Brain Bee Competition. Runner-up: Rajan Venkataraman, VIC
  • 2013: Eva Wang, QLD. Runner-up: Ricky Chung, NSW
  • 2012: Jackson Huang, QLD. Jackson went on to win Round 4, the International Brain Bee Competition. Runner-up: Zelda Perri, VIC
  • 2011: Teresa Tang, QLD. Teresa went on to win Round 4, the International Brain Bee Competition. Runner-up: Ashly Vu, ACT
  • 2010: Ben Thompson, ACT. Runner-up: Wasiul Hoque, NSW
  • 2009: Uma Jha, WA. Runner-up: Andrew Li, NSW
  • 2008: Jayson Jeganathan, NSW. Runner-up: Casey Linton, QLD
  • 2007: Quinn McGennisken, VIC
  • 2006: Tim Mews, QLD. Runner-up: Katelin Haynes, QLD

New Zealand

  • 2016: Stefan Ivanov, NI. Runner-up: Daniel Wei, SI.
  • 2015: Matthew Z.M. Fulton, NI. Runner-up: Kate Jenkins, SI.
  • 2014: Nicholas Kondal, NI.
  • 2013: Thomas Chang, NI. Runner-up: Luke Gellen, SI.
  • 2012: Jiantao Shen, NI. Runner-up: Ja Won Kim, SI.
  • 2011: Byung Cheol Cho, NI. Runner-up: Connor Clemett, SI.
  • 2010: Rachel Wiltshire, NI. Runner-up: Kerstin McEwan, SI.
  • 2009: Kate Burgess, NI. Runner-up: Tharun Sonti, SI.
  • 2008: Stephen Mackerath, NI. Runner-up: Kieran Bunn, SI.
  • 2007: William Zhang, NI. Runner-up: George Shand, SI.