Growing up with congenital anosmia, a rare brain condition which leaves individuals with the inability to smell, Full Sail Film student Travis Grenier‘s friends would test him by waving dirty socks and other pungent-smelling items around him when he wasn’t looking. They didn’t believe him when he told them he couldn’t smell anything.
Those reenactments – plus other important information about Travis’s disorder – all appear in the informational video he created for the Society for Neuroscience’s Brain Awareness Video Contest, which he was recently named the winner of. The contest was established to promote, advocate for, and support brain science and research.
“I enter a lot of competitions and thought this one would be a fun thing to do,” says Travis, who stars in the video with his girlfriend’s younger brother. “I had to do a lot of research. [The video had to be approved by a certified neuroscientist for accuracy before Travis was allowed to enter the competition.] I learned there’s no real set cause for why someone has the disorder. I don’t even know why I have it, nobody else in my family does. It was a weird thing that I thought would be fun to share.”
Travis won $1,000 and a trip to the Society for Neuroscience’s annual conference this November in San Diego, which he plans on attending. A second People’s Choice competition is currently underway through Wednesday, October 16 on the Society for Neuroscience’s website.
“This year’s video submissions reflect enormous excitement about brain research,” says Jim McNamara, the chair of the Society for Neuroscience’s Public Education and Communication Committee. “They are a valuable tool for the neuroscience community.”