The Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFIN) will offer an insider’s view of the mysteries of science when its winter lecture series returns to Palm Beach for a third season. The two-part series is free and open to the public. All lectures are scheduled from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at the Royal Poinciana Chapel Fellowship Hall, 60 Cocoanut Row in Palm Beach.  Seating is limited and can be reserved by calling 561-972-9027 or rsvp@maxplanckflorida.org.

The popular series kicks off on Thursday, January 17 with a lecture titled, “Unlocking the Mysteries of the Brain” by Dr. David Fitzpatrick, Scientific Director and CEO of MPFIN, sponsored by the law firm of Haile, Shaw and Pfaffenberger. The brain is by far the most complex organ of the body. The amount that we understand is only a tiny fraction of what we need to know in order to address how brain disorders alter normal brain function. This lecture will focus on the work Dr. Fitzpatrick and the other Research Group Leaders in Jupiter are doing to shed more light on brain circuits, the complex synaptic networks whose activity is the basis for all of our perceptions, thoughts, emotions, and actions that will make it possible to design rational strategies for the treatment of brain disorders.

On Thursday, March 14, Dr. Ian Baldwin, director of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, will present the second lecture in the series, “Training a New Generation of Biologists.” This talk, sponsored by BB & T, will discuss the importance of training “genome-enabled field biologists (GEFBs)” with a specific program that teaches them to be adept at using the most powerful tools of biology, as well as being intimate with the art of natural discovery. To illustrate the approach, Dr. Baldwin will provide examples of GEFBs who have discovered how a native plant has solved its own pest problems: a fundamental issue that plagues all agricultural processes.

The Max Planck Florida Foundation, which is tasked with supporting MPFIN’s scientific research as well as its educational programs by attaining private philanthropic support from individuals, corporations, and foundations across the United States, will host a private reception prior to each lecture, giving invited guests an opportunity to meet these world-class scientists and speak with them about their work in greater detail.

MPFIN’s new biomedical research facility on FAU’s MacArthur Campus in Jupiter accommodates nearly 58,000 square feet of laboratory space with three research wings and guest labs for visiting scientists. Nine research groups are currently exploring the answers to the most fundamental questions about the mechanisms of the brain, which will ultimately provide the foundation for the development of new treatments for a broad range of brain disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and many others.

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