Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience

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Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience
The Institute in August 2012
Established 2010 (2010)
Chairman Dr. David Fitzpatrick
Location John D. MacArthur Campus, Florida Atlantic University, Jupiter, Florida
Address One Max Planck Way
Jupiter, Florida 33458 USA

The Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI), located in Jupiter, Florida, is the first U.S. institute established by the Max Planck Society.[1]


Research at the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience focuses on brain function and neural circuits, using techniques to visualize microscopic molecular processes. The Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience attracts scientists from diverse backgrounds to collaborate in finding new approaches to understanding the structure, function, and development of neural circuits.

Scientific Directors[edit]

Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience currently has two Scientific Directors: Dr. David Fitzpatrick and Dr. Ryohei Yasuda.[1]

Dr. David Fitzpatrick was named CEO and Scientific Director of MPFI in 2011. Previously, Dr. Fitzpatrick was the James B. Duke Professor of Neuroscience at the Duke University School of Medicine and was the Founding Director of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences. Dr. Fitzpatrick's professional awards for his research accomplishments include: the Alfred P. Sloan Research Award, the Cajal Club Cortical Discoverer Award, and the McKnight Neuroscience Investigator Award. Dr. Fitzpatrick has also served on many scientific advisory boards including the Searle Scholars Program, the German Research Foundation (DFG), the RIKEN Brain Science Institute, the Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology, and the National Institute of Health. Dr. Fitzpatrick has also served as a Senior Editor for the Journal of Neuroscience, among other scientific publications.[1]

Dr. Ryohei Yasuda was named Scientific Director of MPFI in 2012. He has a PhD in Physics from Keio University Graduate School of Science and Technology in Yokohama, Japan. From 2000 to 2005, he was a post-doctoral fellow at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and was an assistant professor of Neurobiology at Duke University Medical Center from 2005 to 2012. Dr. Yasuda also served as an Early Career Scientist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute from 2009 to 2012. Dr. Yasuda's professional awards for his research accomplishments include: the Career Award at the Scientific Interface from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund; the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship; the New investigator Award from the Alzheimer's Association; and the Research Award for Innovative Neuroscience from the Society for Neuroscience.[1]

Research Groups[edit]

MPFI's nine research groups study neural circuits:[1]

Disorders of Neural Circuit Function - Research group leader: McLean Bolton, PhD.

Mechanisms of Synaptic Signaling and Computation - Research group leader: Jason Christie, PhD.

Functional Architecture and Development of Visual Cortex - Research group leader: David Fitzpatrick, PhD.

Cellular Basis of Neural Circuit Plasticity - Research group leader: Hyungbae Kwon, PhD

Digital Neuroanatomy - Research group leader: Bert Sakmann, MD, PhD

Cellular Organization of Cortical Circuit Function - Research group leader: James Schummers, PhD

Development and Function of Inhibitory Neural Circuits - Research group leader: Dr. Hiroki Taniguchi, PhD

Neuronal Signal Transduction - Research group leader: Ryohei Yasuda, PhD

Molecular Mechanisms of Synaptic Function - Research group leader: Samuel Young, Jr., PhD



In 2013, a research study led by MPFI's Scientific Director, Dr, Ryohei Yasuda, discovered a signaling protein involved in the neuronal dysfunction seen in Alzheimer's Disease. When researchers turned down production of the protein, centaurin-1 (CentA1), using RNA silencing techniques, neurons that had exhibited Alzheimer's-related symptoms returned to normal function.[2]


The Florida campus of the Max Planck Institute for Neuroscience opened their new 3-story, 100,000-square-foot (9,300 m2) research facility on the John D. MacArthur Campus of the Florida Atlantic University's Honors Campus in Jupiter, Florida in 2012. Almost 58,000 square feet (5,400 m2) of the building is dedicated laboratory space, including guest labs for visiting scientists. The building also includes a 100-seat auditorium.

The MPFI building was designed by the Washington, D.C. architectural firm, ZGF Architects LLP and built by DPR Construction. The building meets the requirements of the US Green Building Council's LEED-NC accreditation program and has incorporated laboratory-specific energy-use reduction recommendations from the US Department of Energy's Lab 21 environmental performance criteria.[3] Features of the building include:[1]

  • air-conditioning zoning strategy reducing loads
  • mechanical systems with energy recovery wheels to capture usable energy from building exhaust
  • recycling of moisture removed in the process of dehumidification that contributes to the building's cooling system
  • landscape irrigation provided by municipal reclaimed water system

The building is also designed to provide high levels of stiffness and vibration isolation for sensitive imaging technologies.


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience Website". 
  2. ^ Szatmari, Erzsebet; Ana F. Oliveira; Elizabeth J. Sumner; Ryohei Yasuda (March 2013). "Centaurin-α1-Ras-Elk-1 Signaling at Mitochondria Mediates β-Amyloid-Induced Synaptic Dysfunction" (PDF). The Journal of Neuroscience. 33: 5367–5374. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2641-12.2013. 
  3. ^ Brinkmann, Paul (2012-12-20). "Green building: South Florida now has 200 LEED projects". South Florida Business Journal. 

Coordinates: 26°53′02″N 80°06′53″W / 26.8839°N 80.1148°W / 26.8839; -80.1148