Physiology faculty, staff and students coach WSU undergrads to Quiz Bowl triumph

June 15, 2017

A group of Wayne State University undergraduate students won the first Michigan Physiological Society’s first Quiz Bowl, held June 7 at Alma College in Alma, Mich. The team was led by Wayne State University School of Medicine Associate Professor of Physiology Patrick Mueller and coached by School of Medicine graduate students.

The event, the first of its kind in the country and held at the society’s annual meeting, was created with the intent that other states would host similar quiz bowls, leading to a national competition. The ultimate goal, organizers said, is to have a national team compete in the annual Inter-Medical School Physiology Quiz held at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The team consisted of five undergraduate students from the WSU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, including Maryam Safdar, Brianna Schick, Sangini Tolia, Christina Al-Jageta and Patrick Etta. The Wayne State team competed against teams from Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, Ferris State University and Oakland University.

“It was initially nerve-wracking and kind of difficult, but it ended up being a lot of fun,” Schick said.
The team competed in three initial rounds and a semifinal before facing MSU in the final showdown.

“I really wanted to make this a learning opportunity from top to bottom,” Dr. Mueller said.

He credits the graduate students and Department of Physiology staff, including JT Mannozzi, Ankita Jaykumar, Deena Damschroder, Cesar Barrabi, Leena Kadam, Mohamad El Chami, Carthic Rajagopalan, Joanne Kaiser, Isabel Max and Christine Cupps, who helped the team study and prepare for the event.

“Those are the individuals who did most of the work,” he said.

A version of this article first appeared at

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