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Local high school students compete in Central Mass. Brain Bee at UMass Chan

High school junior Rebecca Ahn (center) with her parents after winning the 2024 Central Massachusetts Brain Bee competition at UMass Chan Medical School  
Photo credit: Timmy Le  

Rebecca Ahn, a junior at Stanford Online High School, is heading to the 2024 USA National Brain Bee in Florida after taking top honors at the 18th Annual Central Massachusetts Brain Bee, held at UMass Chan Medical School on March 16.

Ahn, of Natick, will participate in the 2024 USA National Brain Bee at the University of Central Florida from April 19 to 21. Her trip is sponsored by the UMass Chan departments of neurobiology, neurological surgery, neurology, psychiatry and radiology, as well as the NeuroNexus Institute.

Ahn is also the recipient of the Andrew M. Sheridan Young Neuroscientist Award, established by Michael and Shirley Sheridan, in honor of their late son, Andrew, who had an enthusiasm for neuroscience.

Sheldon Benjamin, MD (right) speaks with Brain Bee contestants Rebecca Ahn (left) and Parnitha Karapakula (middle)
Photo credit: David Weaver, PhD

The runner-up was freshman Parnitha Karapakula of Shrewsbury High School. Sophomore Varsha Alladi of Acton-Boxborough Regional High School placed third. Rounding out the top five were junior Nitya Vishwanath of Algonquin Regional High School and freshman Shamini Biju of Shrewsbury High.

Anastasia Khvorova, PhD, the Remondi Family Chair in Biomedical Research and professor of RNA therapeutics, delivered the keynote address, “RNA as a Drug to Treat Nervous System Diseases.”

Sheldon Benjamin, MD, professor of psychiatry, served as master of ceremonies. Dr. Benjamin organized the event with David Weaver, PhD, professor of neurobiology, director of the graduate program in neuroscience and executive director of the NeuroNexus Institute.

The event also included presentations from Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences students Wenjia Huang, Megan Fowler-Magaw and Sophia Liu.