What is produced by destruction of a ventrolateral preoptic nucleus?
Jericho High School sophomore Richard Zhang, 15, knew the answer: irreversible insomnia.
The bee challenges teens to answer neuroscience questions in a spelling bee format.
"I did study a lot, but I was still really surprised to win," said Zhang, adding that "neuroscience in general is a really amazing subject."
Zhang went on to place 18th out of 44 students last month at the national level in Baltimore.
To prepare for the competitions, Zhang said he studied a 65-page book called "Brain Facts" that was supplied by competition officials. He also attended preparatory classes at LIU Post hosted by Grace Rossi, an assistant professor of psychology.
In the local bee, Anmol Gupta of Sachem High School East in Farmingville and Preeti Kakani of Jericho placed second and third.
At Jericho, Zhang plays the violin and is on the quiz bowl and badminton teams.