Sulev Kuuse

Estonian students received two bronze medals at the International Biology Olympiad

The 33rd International Biology Olympiad took place in Armenia, Yerevan, July 10-18. Estonian students return from the Olympics with two bronze medals and one certificate of honor.

This year, more than 260 students from 66 countries participated in the competition. Bronze medals went to Vesta Selg and Karl Valter Oja, recent graduates of Hugo Treffner Gymnasium. Estonia was also represented by Adeele Must, who recently graduated from Tallinn Secondary School of Science, and Liisa Pata, who will enter the 11th grade of the same school in the fall, who as the youngest member of the team received an honorable mention for a successful result.

The Estonian delegation was supervised by Sulev Kuuse (Chairman of the Jury of the Estonian Biology Olympiad, Head of the Vivarium of the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology of the University of Tartu), Karl Jürgenstein (PhD student of the Molecular and Cell Biology Curriculum of the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology), Mari Remm (Third-year medical student at UT) and Ando Vaan, a doctor who recently completed his studies at the University of Tartu.

The competition started in the premises of the University of Yerevan with practical works, in which students' understanding of bioinformatics, plant anatomy and physiology, zoology, biosystematics and biochemistry was checked. The practical work was followed by a two-part theory work, which the students had to complete on a computer.

Compared to previous years, the tasks of the Olympiad seemed not so complicated and were presented in more compact form, but they were not easy either.

Sulev Kuuse, Head of the Estonian delegation in Yerevan

The opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympiad took place in the hall of the Yerevan Opera and Ballet Theater, where the Estonian delegation met the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Estonia in Yerevan, Mr Avetik Ghukasyan. As a leisure activity, lively evening festivities were organized for the members of the delegations, where, for example, Armenian folk dances were taught. The delegations also visited the hellenistic Temple of Garni in Central Armenia and the medevial Geghard Monastery under Armenian Apostlic Church.

The International Biology Olympiad was last held in contact form in 2019. In the intervening two years, due to corona restrictions, it had to be limited to virtual Olympiads, which students completed in front of computers in their home country (IBO Challenge I and II).

The preparation and participation of Estonian students in international competitions is financed by the Ministry of Education and Science and organized by the University of Tartu Youth Academy. The Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology and the Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences of the University of Tartu also supported the preparation works of the Olympiad. Young biologists were supported by Estonian biotechnology company Icosagen.


The cover photo was taken on July 17, 2022 in the closing ceremony in the hall of the Yerevan Opera and Ballet Theater. From left to right: Liisa Pata, Vesta Selg, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Estonia in Yerevan, Mr. Avetik Ghukasyan, Karl Valter Oja, Adeele Must.
Author of the photo: Sulev Kuuse

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