Jan. 31 and Feb. 1: Neuroscience Double Header with Max Planck Florida Institute

The Max Planck Florida Institute (MPFI) and Science Writers in New York (SWINY) cordially invite you to two days of neuroscience programs: A public lecture on January 31 and an intimate briefing — just for science journalists — on February 1

“Insight must precede application.” – Max Planck (image courtesy Smithsonian Institution)

Of 80 Max Planck Society scientific institutes across the globe, Max Planck Florida Institute is the first established in North America. MPFI brings together the field’s leading senior neuroscientists and best young researchers, representing a diversity of scientific disciplines and approaches, to seek fundamental answers about brain function and neural circuits.  These circuits form the complex synaptic networks of the brain, which determine who we are, how we think, and how we behave.Understanding the functional organization of the nervous system, its capacity to produce perception, thought, language, memory, emotion, and action, remains the ultimate challenge for biology.  These circuits hold the key to understanding how to ameliorate the effects of devastating neurological, neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders such as autism, epilepsy, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s disease.

Among MPFI’s top scientists is internationally known neurobiologist David Fitzpatrick, PhD. Dr. Fitzpatrick joined the Institute last year from Duke University, where he was founding director of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, to lead the new institute as CEO and Scientific Director, as well as leading the research group studying functional development of the visual cortex.

Research began at MPFI late in 2009.  Currently working in temporary facilities on the campus of Florida Atlantic University, the Institute will move into a state-of-the-art research building on campus this summer.

On January 31, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at German House, 871 U.N. Plaza, join David Fitzpatrick, PhD, CEO & Scientific Director of Max Planck Florida Institute, and Joshua Sanes, PhD, Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology and Paul J. Finnegan Family Director, Center for Brain Science, Harvard University, for a public dialogue entitled, “Which Way Did It Go? New Insights into the Organization and Development of Brain Circuits that Compute Motion Direction.”  The two experts will discuss their research in this area and its significance for understanding brain function and development. The free program is sponsored by the German Center for Research and Innovation and Max Planck Florida Institute. A reception follows. For more information on this program, click here.

On February 1, from 9:30 from 11:00 a.m., also at German House, 871 U.N. Plaza, science journalists will have coffee with Dr. Fitzpatrick and colleagues and  get an inside look at the new Institute, its recent research findings, its unique approach to research, and its leading edge scientific agenda.

In the February 1 program, Dr. Fitzpatrick will discuss the scientific questions each of the Institute’s six research groups hopes to answer, including his lab, which examines visual experience and perception in development of the cortex. This research has implications for understanding neurodevelopmental disorders.  Nobel laureate Dr. Bert Sakmann will participate via Skype to discuss new research findings from his lab, in which his team described their creation of the first realistic representation of a neural circuit.  This research is part of a major project of Dr. Sakmann’s lab, in which scientists are working to create a complete 3D map of the rodent brain. This map will increase understanding of how the brain computes, and lay the groundwork for future studies of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Please RSVP to Dennis Tartaglia for both eventsinfo@tartagliacommunications.com(732) 545-1848indicating which event(s) you will attend. Please include your name, media affiliation, address, business and cell numbers.

NOTE: PRE-REGISTRATION AND PHOTO ID ARE REQUIRED FOR BOTH EVENTS.  PLEASE REGISTER NO LATER THAN TWO DAYS BEFORE EACH RESPECTIVE PROGRAM.  REGISTRATION FOR BOTH EVENTS IS FREE.

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