Six Palm Beach County high school students are headed back to school this week with a better understanding of the human brain and its function after spending their summer vacation working alongside researchers and scientists at Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI). The six-week summer research internship program concluded on July 26 and offered the talented and highly motivated teens the chance to work in one of MPFI’s nine research groups, each focused on a different aspect and approach to neural circuit research.  At the end of the program, the interns gave a presentation to the MPFI community.

“Each intern leaves MPFI with cutting-edge research skills in neuroscience learned directly from the scientists who are at the forefront of the field,” said Dr. Ana Fiallos, head of education outreach at MPFI. “These promising young men and women were given a taste of what it’s like to conduct such crucial research in a number of different areas of neuroscience.”

This year’s interns included:

  • Kirill Safin of Atlantic Community High School, who worked with James Schummers, Ph. D., in the Cellular Organization of Cortical Circuit Function lab;
  • Ximena Hasbach of Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, who worked with Hyungbae Kwon, Ph. D., in the Cellular Basis of Neural Circuit Plasticity lab;
  • James Hamilton of Atlantic Community High School and Zhaoqi Li of Suncoast Community High School, both of whom worked alongside of Ryohei Yasuda, Ph. D., in the Neuronal Signal Transduction lab;
  • Richard Antonello of Boca Raton Community High School, who worked with Long Yan, Ph. D., the head of the Optical Workshop and Light Microscopy Facility Center, developing software programs for image processing; and
  • Miranda Craghead from Jupiter Community High School, who worked with Naomi Kamasawa, Ph. D., head of the Electron Microscopy Core Facility.

MPFI is committed to offering quality education programs and enriching the Southeastern Florida area through activities such as the summer research internship, Brain Bee Challenge and Neuroscience Saturdays. The lessons learned at MPFI will give these exceptional young minds a leg-up on their peers as they move towards their post-secondary educations at some of America’s top ranked institutions.


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