Max Planck Florida Institute Announces Public Lecture Series

December 20, 2010

The general public is invited to be fascinated by the world of science at a series of three lectures this winter, presented by the Max Planck Florida Institute. The free events, sponsored by the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP, will feature internationally-recognized scientists who will discuss their work in the Fellowship Hall at the Royal Poinciana Chapel in Palm Beach.

The series kicks off on Wednesday, January 12 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. with a talk from Dr. Axel Borst, director of the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried, Germany. His presentation is titled, “From the Cockpit of a Fly: How Visual Motion Information is Processed” and he will discuss the ways scientists are trying to unlock the mysteries of the human brain by studying a much smaller-scale brain – of the fly. Dr. Martin Heimann, director of the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Jena, Germany, will lead the second lecture on February 23 focused on climate change, and Dr. Stefan H.E. Kaufmann, founding director and director of the department of immunology at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin, will conclude the series on March 30 with a presentation on infection biology and pandemics.

“Education and community outreach is a hallmark of the Max Planck Institutes around the world, and this lecture series is an example of the Max Planck Florida Institute’s commitment to South Florida,” said Dr. Claudia Hillinger, Vice President of Institute Development. “We intend to present this series on an annual basis to give the community an overview of the broad research spectrum of the Max Planck Society, and the challenging questions our scientists address every day in their labs.”

The speakers also committed to give presentations at local high schools in coordination with the Palm Beach County School District. Further presentations are planned in cooperation with the German Center for Research and Innovation (GCRI) in New York, one of the five centers worldwide that provides information and promotes scientific exchange between Germany and their host countries.

“The scientists featured in this program are at the forefront of the discoveries that will lead to finding new cures for disease and addressing society’s greatest needs. We are honored to support the lecture series so they can share their exciting knowledge with the South Florida community,” said Raquel A. Rodriguez, a partner in the Miami office of McDermott Will & Emery LLP.

The Max Planck Florida Institute lecture series is free and open to the public. All lectures will be held in the Fellowship Hall at the Royal Poinciana Chapel, 60 Cocoanut Row in Palm Beach. Seating is limited and can be reserved by calling 561.972.9020 or rsvp at
About the Max Planck Society:

Germany’s Max Planck Society has led the world in advancing the frontiers of scientific research for more than 60 years. The independent, nonprofit organization, with its international staff of around 20,400, including research fellows and visiting scientists, has an annual operating budget of $1.8 billion. Named for the 1918 Nobel Prize-winning physicist and founder of the quantum theory, Max Planck, the scientific institution maintains 80 institutes and research facilities located mainly in Germany, but also in Italy, Netherlands, and now in the United States. All are focused on exceptional, results-oriented basic research in the life sciences, social sciences and the humanities.

The Max Planck Florida Institute, which focuses its research on the nervous system and other complex tissues, is currently operating in a temporary facility on Florida Atlantic University’s MacArthur Campus in Jupiter. The permanent 100,000-square-foot biomedical research center and laboratories is expected to be completed by early 2012. For more information, visit

About McDermott Will & Emery:

McDermott Will & Emery is a premier international law firm with a diversified business practice. Numbering more than 1,000 lawyers, we have offices in Boston, Brussels, Chicago, Düsseldorf, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Milan, Munich, New York, Orange County, Rome, San Diego, Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C. Extending our reach to Asia, we have a strategic alliance with MWE China Law Offices in Shanghai.