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MEDIA CONTACT:  Gisele Galoustian

FAU and the Max Planck Florida Institute to Present 2009 Nobel Laureate Lecture with Dr. Bert Sakmann

Sakmann received the 1991 Nobel Prize in Medicine and has been credited with revolutionizing modern biology.  

             BOCA RATON, FL (January 22, 2009) – Florida Atlantic University and the Max Planck Florida Institute will present the 2009 Nobel Laureate Lecture on Friday, February 6 from 4-5:30 p.m. in the Libby and Harry Dodson Auditorium in the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing. Bert Sakmann, M.D., Ph.D. is the 1991 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Medicine and director of the Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology in Munich, Germany. Titled,  “Decision Making in a Rodent Brain: Contributions of Cortical Columns,” his talk will highlight his groundbreaking research in membrane physiology.  

Sakmann, with physicist Erwin Neher, was awarded the Nobel Prize for inventing the patch clamp technique. This ground-breaking advancement made it possible to examine individual ion channels – pore-forming proteins found in the outer membranes of virtually all cells that serve as conduits for electrical signals. They examined a broad range of cellular functions, eventually discovering the role that the ion channels play in such diseases as diabetes, cystic fibrosis, several cardiovascular diseases and certain neuromuscular disorders. This technique opened new paths in the study of membrane physiology. In fact, the Nobel Prize committee credited Sakmann and Neher with revolutionizing modern biology.

“We are honored to host Dr. Sakmann at Florida Atlantic University and to be working in collaboration with the Max Planck Florida Institute,” said FAU President Frank T. Brogan. “We look forward to a very rich, continuous academic and scientific collaboration between FAU and the Max Planck Florida Institute.”

 The FAU/Max Florida partnership will pave the way for cooperative research projects of mutual interest, joint-use facilities, affiliate faculty appointments at FAU, improved student training opportunities, and joint seminars and public forums.

“We are delighted to co-present the Nobel Laureate Lecture with our colleagues at Florida Atlantic University,” said Dr. Claudia Hillinger, vice president for institute development, Max Planck Florida Institute. “ Max Planck Florida will be closely linked with many universities in Florida, in particular with Florida Atlantic University, and will work with the local research facilities of Scripps Florida and others, including those in the business sector, to considerably speed up the formation of a strong biotech cluster in Florida.”  

FAU’s John D. MacArthur Campus in Jupiter is very soon to become home to the Max Planck Society’s 80 th institute – and the first in the United States. Scientists from the Max Planck Florida Institute will be working in temporary facilities on the Jupiter campus until the Institute’s permanent 100,000-square-foot building is completed. The Florida facility will focus its scientific activities on bioimaging using the most advanced techniques for visualization of microscopic molecular processes to achieve a deeper understanding of the structure, dynamics and function of molecules and tissues in order to tackle challenging problems in biology, bioengineering and medicine.

 “Working together with a world-class institution such as the Max Planck Florida Institute will further enhance our ability to attract top-notch faculty and graduate students,” said Dr. Ramaswamy Narayanan, professor and chair of chemistry and biochemistry in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science and chair of the 2009 Nobel Laureate Lecture. “Furthermore, the presence of the Institute on our Jupiter campus is exciting not only for our students, faculty and researchers, but for the community as a whole.”

The 2009 Nobel Laureate Lecture is open to the public and there is no charge to attend. The Libby and Harry Dodson Auditorium in the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing is located at 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton. RSVP is required. To reserve a seat or for more information, call 561-297-0777 or visit    

Sponsors of the 2009 Nobel Laureate Lecture include the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, FAU’s Division of Research, the Max Planck Florida Institute, the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, Munich, the law firm of McDermott, Will & Emory and the law firm of Ruden McClosky.


Florida Atlantic University opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serv es more than 26,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses strategically located along 150 miles of Florida's southeastern coastline. Building on its rich tradition as a teaching university, with a world-class faculty, FAU hosts ten colleges:  College of Architecture, Urban & Public Affairs, Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Biomedical Science, the Barry Kaye College of Business, the College of  Education, the College of  Engineering & Computer Science, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Graduate College,  the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science.  

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