Backyard Brains Logo

Neuroscience for Everyone!

+1 (855) GET-SPIKES (855-438-7745)


items ()

High Schooler Becomes Educator: Young Fencer’s Neuro-Revolution Goes International

High schooler brings neuroscience to a fencing tournament in Paris.
Neurofencing in Paris. (All photos Supriya Nair)

[Updated February 2024]

There’s one thing that beats inspiring kids to take up neuroscience: Watching them not only catch the spark but pass it along! High schooler Supriya Nair is our case in point. Through scientific outreach using our SpikerBox, she has already ignited the interest of hundreds of her peers who got to see and feel the power of action potentials for the first time.

Her latest outreach triumph happened just this month at the 2024 Marathon Foils Tournament in Paris! There, she sparked the NeuroRevolution in dozens of young fencers from France, Italy, Germany, UK and other parts of the globe.

The reception in Paris was warm, and there was quite a lot to be learned too. “Most of my fellow fencers at the event were impressed with the data behind the adage that warming up is good,” Supriya tells us. “When we discussed a reduction of over 50 milliseconds in a 6ft lunge, there was a lot of excitement and cheering. I was humbled and really appreciated their time, everyone of the fencers from these countries were friendly, receptive and welcoming.”

Neuroscience workshop on a fencing tournament in Paris

The young neurofencer thus kick-started a string of international appearances where she is to empower fellow athletes to take up science and use it to level up their performance on the piste. And it’s not just fencers who may get interested in neuroscience. It’s also the other way round, as she’s about to prove in her next workshop in July, on the sidelines of Japan’s biggest annual neuroscience conference Neuro2024!

She has conquered much of America too, conducting upwards of 15 neurofencing workshops in California, Oregon, Arizona, Minnesota and at the SfN 2023 in Washington, D.C., where we met her in person.

Neurofencing at SfN 2023: High Schooler Becomes Educator
Supriya Nair with BYB co-founders Tim Marzullo and Greg Gage at SfN 2023

Quite a meeting it was, and not just because we love cake! It was the annual Society for Neuroscience conference with over 25,000 attendees where she got to present her neurofencing poster in front of PhDs and postdocs.

Some of our gang also got to sport the saber and get a taste of proper neuroscience with an edge.

Backyard Brains in a fencing bout
That’s a bout if ever we did one!

How Did Neurofencing Come to Be?

It all began as a middle school science fair project that tapped into human body’s electrical signals to improve athletic performance. This brought the then-13-year-old Supriya several state and national awards.

Then it blossomed into a long-term roadmap whose purpose was to dig deeper: More participants were needed to help explore different variables. What better opportunity to start a series of outreach events, from the US Fencing Nationals to over a dozen fencing clubs whose members got to see for themselves how important warm-ups really are.

Neurofencing poster presentation at SfN 2023 in Washington, D.C.

Currently, she’s stepping up her research by recruiting volunteers to help her study the physiology & biomechanics of fencing movements at the University of Washington Medical Center. The goal is to assess how different grips across varied weapons impact the fencer’s tendons. At the same time, she’s branching out into other areas such as classical Indian dance – with a touch of EMG & Inertial Movements! Research phases come and go, but the overarching theme remains the same: To be the ultimate neuroevangelist.

If you want to read more about her work, head over to her website. And if you’d like Supriya to run a workshop on neuroscience and biomechanics of the human body in your school or club, drop her an email at supriya@neurofencing.com.


No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.