Two local high school students were given a rare opportunity to ‘pick the brains’ of neuroscientists who dedicate their lives to gaining a better understanding of the human brain and its function thanks to the Max Planck Florida Institute’s (MPFI’s) Summer Research Internship program. As the program’s ‘inaugural interns,’ Christopher Heung, a sophomore at Atlantic High School in Delray Beach and Erica Morris, a junior at Jupiter High School, spent six weeks from June 15 to July 22 working alongside MPFI’s world-class researchers in their laboratories.

Heung worked with Long Yan, Ph.D., the head of the Optical Workshop and Light Microscopy Facility Center developing software programs for image processing, while Morris worked with proteins in the wet lab under the mentorship of Samuel Young, Jr., Ph.D., Research Group Leader in the Molecular Mechanisms of Synaptic Function Group. Heung and Morris were selected for the summer internship program based on their grade point average and teacher recommendations.

“At the end of the program, the interns gave a presentation to the Max Planck community as well as their families and friends,” said Ana Fiallos, Ph.D., MPFI educational outreach coordinator. “Over the course of their internship the students gained valuable experience and knowledge working alongside our scientists — knowledge and experience that they will take back into the classroom with them this fall.”


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