Neuroscience Symposium Launches Max Planck Florida Institute and FAU New Graduate Program

October 4, 2010

More than 150 students, faculty and fellow scientists attended the two-day Neuroscience Symposium to mark the launch of a new, joint Integrative Biology and Neuroscience graduate program between the Max Planck Florida Institute and Florida Atlantic University (FAU).  The event showcased some of the latest scientific advances at the forefront of today’s neuroscience research, and featured speakers and presentations given by the Max Planck Florida Institute; FAU; the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry; the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology; Scripps Florida; Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies; Duke Institute for Brain Sciences; Harvard Medical School; and Northwestern University.

Opening remarks at the inaugural symposium were given by Dr. Ivan Baines, Chief Scientific Facilities Officer at the Max Planck Florida Institute; Dr. Mary Jane Saunders, President of FAU; Dr. Gary Perry, Professor and Dean at the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science; and Dr. Herbert Jäckle, Vice President of the Max Planck Society.

“This is an exciting time for Florida Atlantic University,” said Dr. Saunders. “We are developing strong partnerships with international scientific organizations, and this event is a prime example of our collaboration with Max Planck Florida Institute and our commitment to develop Palm Beach County into a center of excellence for the neurosciences.”

Dr. Perry pointed out that neuroscience has a rich history at FAU and that this year is the 25th Anniversary of FAU’s Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences. With the emergence of neuroscience groups in Biological Sciences and the College of Medicine to complement the Center, neuroscience is growing rapidly at FAU. “Today, we are celebrating the next chapter in the development of neuroscience at FAU,” he said. “Science has become a global enterprise, and the combined resources and expertise at FAU and Max Planck Florida Institute will enable us to develop a world-class program for students in Integrative Biology and Neuroscience.”

The joint Max Planck Florida Institute and FAU Integrative Biology and Neuroscience graduate program has already begun recruiting students and is scheduled to welcome its first class in Fall 2011. The program is expected to attract top-notch graduate students locally, nationally and internationally.

“In three years, we believe this graduate program will be the number one program of its kind in Florida,” said Dr. Jäckle. “In less than 10 years, it will be among the top 10 in the country, and beyond that we expect this program to be among the very best internationally.”

The inaugural Neuroscience Symposium was organized by Max Planck Florida Institute’s Dr. Ivan Baines and Dr. Samuel Young; and FAU’s Dr. Janet Blanks, Dr. Tanja Godenschwege and Dr. Rodney Murphey.

Sponsors and exhibitors at the event included Zeiss; Proskauer; IBM Southeast Employee’s Federal Credit Union; Nikon; Prairie Technologies; Applied Precision; Beckman Coulter; Coherent; EMD; Enzo; Eppendorf; Hunt Optics and Imaging; Leica Microsystems; Mettler Toledo; MicroOptics Florida; and PerkinElmer.

For more information on the graduate program, visit

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.

Max Planck Florida Institute broke ground on their new 100,000-square-foot biomedical facility in June. The permanent biomedical research center and laboratories is expected to be completed by early 2012. For more information, visit

About Florida Atlantic University:

Florida Atlantic University opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. Building on its rich tradition as a teaching university, with a world-class faculty, FAU hosts 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of  Education, the College of  Engineering & Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. For more information, visit