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Synaptic Hacks 2021

• interdisciplinary neuroscience hackathon •

July 30th - August 1st, 2021


Synaptic Hacks is an interdisciplinary, 3-day neuroscience hackathon taking place virtually. It aims to engage student innovators in thinking critically about the role of neuroscience and related fields in society.

Participants will have the option to work solo or with teams of 2-4 students within their educational bracket: (1) middle or high school and (2) undergraduate or graduate level. Specifically, participants will build either technical or non-technical projects focused on real-world applications through the lens of service, social justice, and sustainability. "Prize tracks" (e.g. competition themes) will be revealed during the opening ceremony on July 30th. At the 2 pm ET deadline on August 1st, participants will submit their project proposals in response to the announced prize tracks. Then, a panel of judges composed of professionals/experts will review and provide feedback.

All participants will have the opportunity to engage with guest speakers from around the world in technology, medicine, social sciences, entrepreneurship, and more as well as experience a series of enriching professional development workshops.

At this time, we are only able to accept project submissions from individuals ages 13 to 25 years old during the hackathon. However, we welcome brain enthusiasts of all ages to join us for speaker events and workshops. There are no fees or costs associated with participating in Synaptic Hacks.

If you're interested in gaining experience with international collaboration, interdisciplinary design thinking, and the necessary skills to bring innovative ideas to life, this is the perfect opportunity for you!


Friday, July 30th

 **Note: Times are in Eastern Time (ET)**

Saturday, July 31st

Sunday, August 1st

12:00 am

12:30 am

9:30 am

1:00 pm

2:00 pm

3:00 pm

4:00 pm

6:00 pm

7:00 pm

9:00 pm

Opening Ceremony

Team Formation Session

Brain Resource Creation
-- "Neuroscience Crash Course"

Dr. Rosemary C Bagot -- "How Stress Changes the Brain"

Dr. Simon Rego -- "Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): The Gold Standard in Psychotherapy"

Dr. Sanjib Guha -- "Modeling Alzheimer's Disease in a Tiny Nematode Species (C. elegans)"

Dr. Laura Cabrera -- "The Importance of Integrating and Engaging Neuroethics in Neuroscience"

Ms. Galicia Gordon -- "EdTech Essentials"

Team Formation Session

SN Office Hours

1:30 am

3:00 am

5:30 am

6:00 am

7:30 pm

10:00 am

11:00 am

​12:00 pm

4:00 pm

6:00 pm

8:00 pm

9:00 pm

Ms. Komal Kapoor -- "The Importance of Mental Health and Its Impact on Physical Wellbeing"

Onyeka Anthony -- "The impact of selenium and magnesium on nigrostriatal dopaminergic and cerebellar neurotoxicity following paraquat exposure in mice

Networking Social

Ms. Vrinda Nair -- "The Poetry of Neuroscience"

Mentorship Session with Ms. Vrinda Nair

Brain Resource Creation session

SN Office Hours

Slideshow Karaoke

AsylumConnect Panel (Ms. Christina Tong, Ms. Kelly Chan, Mx. Gaurav Lalsinghani) -- "Tech Careers"

Ms. Hannah Pescaru -- "More Than a Habit: The Science Behind BFRBs"

Dr. Jared Cooney Horvath -- "Your Brain/Your Life: How the Brain Truly Works to Make Sense of Reality"

SN Office Hours

3:30 am

5:30 am

7:30 am

9:00 am

10:00 am

11:00 am

11:30 am

12:30 pm

2:00 pm

7:00 pm

8:00 pm

Dr. Steven Laureys -- "Meditation and the Brain"

Ms. Drushti Naik -- "Parkinson's Disease: Current and Future Prospects"

Ms. Stuti Chakraborty from Stimulus -- "Networking in Research: why is it important and why you should learn this as a student"

Ms. Lina Chihoub and Ms. Srihitha Dasari -- "Introduction to Neurotechnology: Reimagining the Way We Enhance, Treat, and Research the Brain"

Dr. Bhuvanesh Awasthi -- "Studying the Brain to Understand the Mind"

Networking Social (and Judges Meeting)

Ms. Shriya Naidu from Stimulus -- "Branching Out Through Public Engagement and Outreach"

SN Office Hours


Brain Resource Creation session

Closing Ceremony

Meet Our Speakers

Synaptic Hacks SPEAKERS

JULY 30,


Stay tuned for more details coming soon!

  • Opportunity to present at our annual conference, Simply Neurocon, in 2022

  • Project feature shared across all social media platforms and newsletter (20,000+ people)


Note: All participants who submit a project by the deadline will receive a digital certificate of recognition after the competition.


  • Who can register to participate in Synaptic Hacks?

    • Brain enthusiasts of all ages (above 13 years) may sign up to participate in Synaptic Hacks. However, we will only be able to accept project submissions from individuals ages 13 to 25 years as this event is primarily geared towards middle school, high school, undergraduate, and early graduate students.

  • Will we be working individually or in teams? Can I work together with my friends?

    • You will have the option to work on a project individually or in teams of up to four people. Participants will be able to form their own teams and work together with friends (though we also encourage forming teams with students who have not worked together previously in order to foster new collaboration avenues). Additionally, the organizing team will be hosting virtual socials for participants to connect with and find potential project teammates!

  • How can I receive updates about the competition and stay in the loop?

    • Register for Synaptic Hacks on the form above and follow @simplyneuroscience on Instagram. After you register, we will also send you an invite to our Slack platform, where you can find teammates and receive updates as the competition draws near!

  • I have no prior experience in the fields of neuroscience/psychology and/or have never attended an event of this sort before. Will I receive resources or support throughout the competition?
    • Yes! The point of this competition is to cater to students at all levels in their academic and scientific journeys. We aim to introduce students who have not had the opportunity to engage​ in the fields of neuroscience/psychology before to this field while also giving students with existing experience a chance to expand upon their skills and knowledge across disciplines in STEM/the humanities. At the start of the competition, you will be provided with everything you need to know about the competition and links to resources to help you get started! We will also have various workshops to help you learn more and our organizers will be hosting office hours and checking your Slack messages to answer any questions you may have throughout the event.
  • Where is the competition being hosted?

    • Online/virtually via Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic.​

  • Is there a registration fee?

    • Nope! This event is completely free thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and efforts of our organizing team.

  • I’m interested in attending the event but cannot participate due to a schedule conflict or time zone difference. Will there be a recording available?

    • We will be recording as many speaker sessions (with permission) as possible and sharing them on our YouTube channel after the event:

    • Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out on receiving the notification!

  • Is it okay if I’m not able to attend the entire event?

    • Absolutely! Your registration is not binding, and you’re not required to attend every single session (feel free to drop in and out of sessions as you please)

  • What types of sessions will be happening?

    • Research presentations from guest speakers, virtual networking sessions, interactive workshops, and more!

  • How can I support Synaptic Hacks?

  • Whom should I contact if I have any other questions?​

Judges and Mentors

• Judges •


Ransirini de Silva

Clinical Psychologist and Senior Lecturer at The Open University of Sri Lanka

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Drushti Naik

Coming soon!

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Sasha Tunsiricharoengul

Undergraduate Student at Harvard University; COO of Simply Neuroscience


Prachi Kulkarni

MSc Student at SVKM's Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies


John Carlo Combista

MSc Graduate Student at Tel Aviv University


Jhillika Trisal

Undergraduate Student at Shoolini University

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Effie J. Pereira, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher at University of Waterloo

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Sanjib Guha, PhD

Staff Scientist at University of Rochester

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Vrinda Nair

Doctoral Student at Concordia University

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Chinmayi Balusu

Undergraduate Student at Columbia University; CEO of Simply Neuroscience


Komal Kapoor

Paramedic Professional at Christian Medical College, Vellore


Onyeka Anthony

College of Medicine at University of Lagos


John Oyem

Graduate Student at University of Port Harcourt; Assistant Lecturer at Novena University


Bechara Saab

CEO and Chief Scientist at Mobio Interactive


Sara Gordillo

PhD Candidate at University of Toronto/SickKids Hospital

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Kartik Pradeepan

Neuroscience Doctoral Student at Western University

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Tanya Sharma

Student at Panjab University

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Srijamya Shandilya

Medical Student at Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University 


Christos Gkoumas

Psychology PhD Candidate at University of Cyprus

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Nadeshka Ramirez

Director of NeuropsicologiaPR Education Platform

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Tista Bhattacharya

Undergraduate Student at Ashoka University


Maksim Kuznetsov

Senior Python Developer at Akvelon

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Maryam Dadabhoy

Undergraduate Research Student at University of Toronto; President of SYNAPSE

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Christina Tong

Senior Product Manager at Peloton (formerly at Google)

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Kelly Chan

Technical Project Manager at AsylumConnect


Deeksha Sharma

Postdoctoral Researcher at Cornell University

• Mentors •

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Ransirini de Silva

Yujie Wang

Dinithi Bibulewela

Bhuvanesh Awasthi

Vrinda Nair

Clinical Psychologist and Senior Lecturer at The Open University of Sri Lanka

BCI Researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Founder and Chairperson at Me to We Sri Lanka

Director of Research and Training at Orange Neurosciences

Doctoral Student at Concordia University

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Sanjib Guha, PhD

Onyeka Anthony

John Oyem

Ana Iorga

Srijamya Shandilya

Staff Scientist at University of Rochester

College of Medicine at University of Lagos

Graduate Student at University of Port Harcourt; Assistant Lecturer at Novena University

CEO and Chief Neuroscientist at Buyer Brain

Medical Student at Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University 

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Christina Tong

Senior Product Manager at Peloton (formerly at Google)


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