New Scientist at the Max Planck Florida Institute Focused on Understanding How the Brain is Altered by Genetic Disorders and Injury

June 28, 2011

McLean Bolton, Ph.D. has joined the Max Planck Florida Institute (MPFI) as Research Leader in the Disorders of Neural Circuit Function Group. With the goal of gaining a greater understanding of how the brain is altered by genetic disorders and injury, Dr. Bolton will employ electrophysiological and imaging techniques to study the alterations in circuit structure and function associated with neurological and psychiatric disorders.

“In disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease and Autism, the synaptic connections and intrinsic properties of specific populations of neurons in the brain are altered, leading to circuit imbalances and functional deficits,” Dr. Bolton explained. “Understanding these changes and their underlying cellular mechanisms can lead to new therapeutic advances.”

Prior to joining MPFI, Dr. Bolton was a research assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neurology at Duke University Medical Center. Her early postgraduate career was in ion channel drug discovery and developing high-content screening platforms for neurological disorders. Ion channels mediate and regulate crucial electrical functions throughout the body and are therapeutic drug targets for a variety of disorders. She also worked as a research scholar for the Duke Drug Discovery Center, a senior scientist at Icagen, Inc., a scientist II at Amphora Discovery Corporation, and an investigator at Cogent Neuroscience, Inc.

Dr. Bolton received her Ph.D. in neurobiology at Duke University. Her thesis work on the regulation of synaptic transmissions in the hippocampus was supported by an individual National Research Service Award. She is a member of the founding faculty of the joint FloridaAtlantic University-MPFI Integrative Biology and Neuroscience (IBAN) program. IBAN offers a doctorate in integrative biology with the emphasis in neuroscience.

Dr. Bolton has begun her research in the Max Planck Florida Institute’s temporary facility at FAU’s MacArthur campus in Jupiter, while construction is underway on the new 100,000-square-foot biomedical research center and laboratories. The facility is expected to be completed by summer 2012. For more information, visit