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MEDIA CONTACT: Scott Silversten

FAU Provost and Chief Academic Officer Brenda Claiborne, Ph.D., Moves to Neuroscience Position on Jupiter Campus

Rodney Murphey, Ph.D., Named Director of Jupiter Life Science Initiative


BOCA RATON, Fla. (July 5, 2013) – Florida Atlantic University Provost and Chief Academic Officer Brenda Claiborne, Ph.D., will leave her current post and assume a new role as program director for neuroscience at FAU’s John D. MacArthur Campus in Jupiter, effective August 7. Simultaneously, Rodney Murphey, Ph.D., chair of the department of biological sciences in FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, is being named director of the recently launched Jupiter Life Science Initiative, which facilitates the interaction of FAU faculty and students with researchers from the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience and Scripps Florida. Both Max Planck and Scripps have built major research facilities on FAU’s Jupiter campus.

Beginning July 15, Associate Provost of Personnel and Programs Diane Alperin, Ph.D., will serve as acting provost until an interim provost is appointed.

Claiborne is an internationally known neuroscientist who serves as treasurer of the 40,000-member Society for Neuroscience, a worldwide organization.  

“We are extremely fortunate to have two prominent neuroscientists here at FAU who can lead this important initiative,” said Dennis J. Crudele, FAU’s acting president. “The presence on our Jupiter campus of two of the world’s leading biomedical research organizations gives us the opportunity to focus on the development of highly sophisticated life sciences research and education. We have already introduced a Ph.D. program in integrative biology and neuroscience in cooperation with our partners at Max Planck.”

FAU launched the Jupiter Life Science Initiative in 2012 by moving six neuroscience research labs from the Boca Raton campus to Jupiter. Murphey has been on site since the move, coordinating research activities with Max Planck and Scripps. The initiative is focusing first on neuroscience, with emphasis on biotechnology, and will expand to include other areas of the life sciences. Faculty and students are working in a state-of-the-art teaching laboratory with high-tech equipment purchased by a grant from the New Florida Initiative. The facility also includes equipment that Claiborne provided from her personal laboratory.

“I am very excited to join Dr. Murphey and his team on the Jupiter campus, as well as our colleagues at Scripps and Max Planck, to build our neuroscience research and education programs,” Claiborne said. “The combined strength of the scientists at the three institutions is extremely impressive. And, while I have thoroughly enjoyed my tenure as provost, this move provides the opportunity for me to resume my research on brain development and aging.” 

Murphey has been a member of FAU’s faculty since 2005 after previously serving as program officer at the National Science Foundation. His research at FAU focuses on the development and degeneration of synapses in the central nervous system. Murphey has a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Oregon.

“The Jupiter Life Science Initiative is of great importance not only to FAU but also to Palm Beach County and the state of Florida,” said Murphey. “In addition, the emergence of a world-class program in integrative biology and neuroscience on the Jupiter campus supports FAU’s biotechnology signature theme, one of three areas of special strategic focus for the University’s ongoing development as an outstanding center of research and scholarship.”

Plans for the initiative also include a semester-long “Science Experience” that will be open to all FAU science majors, as well as shorter courses in cutting-edge technologies that will serve the broader scientific community.

Before coming to FAU in 2011, Claiborne was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of New Mexico (UNM) and a professor in the department of neurosciences in UNM’s School of Medicine. She previously served as dean of graduate studies and associate vice president for research at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), and she was founding director of the Institute for Aging Research at UTSA. Claiborne, who serves as a reviewer for numerous scholarly journals in the field of neuroscience, holds an appointment as professor in the department of biological sciences and a joint appointment in FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine. She received her Ph.D. in biology from the University of California, San Diego.

Associate Provost Alperin joined FAU in 1980, and her current responsibilities include handling personnel issues and maintaining existing academic programs for the Division of Academic Affairs, including program review and accreditation. She has a Ph.D. in social welfare from Florida International University.


About Florida Atlantic University:
Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit

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