Public Release: 

SfN announces winners of Brain Awareness Video Contest

Society for Neuroscience


IMAGE: The first place winner of the Society for Neuroscience Brain Awareness Video Contest explores the mysteries of congenital anosmia, a condition where people are born without a sense of smell. view more

Credit: Travis Grenier

Washington, DC -- The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) announced today the winners of the third annual SfN Brain Awareness Video Contest, with winning topics covering a little known brain disorder, the mystery of memory, and the question of "mind reading." The video submissions were evaluated by scientists for creativity and scientific accuracy, and will join more than 1,000 resources available on These resources engage visitors about the wonders of the brain and mind, such as brain anatomy, how the brain drives the senses and our behavior, and how diseases cause brain function to go awry.

The top ten videos from this year's contest will also go on to compete for SfN's $500 People's Choice Award. Beginning on September 25, the public is invited to view and vote for their favorite video at Voting closes on October 16.

The first place video, "Congenital Anosmia," describes a condition in which people are born without a sense of smell. Scientists know that olfactory stimuli travel from the nose through a few parts of the brain before ending up in the frontal cortex, but they still do not know how or why the signal gets lost along the way. The video's creator, Travis Grenier, a film student at Full Sail University, won $1,000 and a trip to the SfN 2013 Annual Meeting in San Diego, Calif. Grenier worked with SfN member Pat Trimmer of Virginia Commonwealth University to submit the video.

"This year's video submissions reflect enormous excitement about brain research," said Jim McNamara, chair of SfN's Public Education and Communication Committee. "And they are a valuable tool for the neuroscience community to share the wonders of emerging research with the general public whose support is critical to these endeavors."

The winners for second and third place were too close to call, so the judges declared two second place winners. The two videos - "Sketch of a Memory" by graduate students Xavier Viñals and África Flores of Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Spain, and "Population Coding: Mind Reading and More" by Vania Cao, who completed her PhD at Brown University - each earned a $375 prize.

A brand new award was created this year for "Best High School Submission," replacing the "Honorable Mention" category, after an unprecedented number of submissions -- nearly a third -- came from high school students. The inaugural award was given to Yash Patel, Michelle Goffreda, Robby Vasen, and Kat Lin of High Technology High School in Lincroft, NJ for their video "Neuroglia & the Brain." They will be honored with a tour of a neuroscientist's lab later in the fall. The group worked with SfN member Jessica Roland, a medical writer at Hospicom, Inc., to submit the video.

The Brain Awareness Video Contest is one of many ways that SfN participates in the global Brain Awareness Week campaign - a series of events held each spring at institutions around the world to help promote, advocate for, and support brain science and research. Launched by The Dana Foundation in 1996, the global coalition of Brain Awareness partners now includes more than 2,000 universities, elementary and secondary schools, hospitals, patient groups, museums, government agencies, service organizations, and professional associations. The next Brain Awareness Week campaign is scheduled for March 10-16, 2014.

Awards and prizes for the winners of the Brain Awareness Video Contest and People's Choice Award will be presented at SfN's annual meeting, Neuroscience 2013, November 9-13 in San Diego, Calif. With more than 30,000 attendees, the meeting is the world's largest source of emerging news on brain science and health.


The Society for Neuroscience is an organization of nearly 42,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system. For more information about the Brain Awareness campaign or video contest, visit, a public information initiative of the Kavli Foundation, the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, and SfN.

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