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Press Release:

MEDIA CONTACT: Christine Dardet

FAU Launches 2012 Frontiers in Science Public Lecture Series with Lecture by Max Planck Scientific Director and CEO

BOCA RATON, FL (December 21, 2011) – Florida Atlantic University’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science will launch its Frontiers in Science 2012 public lecture series with a presentation by David Fitzpatrick, Ph.D., scientific director and chief executive officer of the Max Planck Florida Institute. “Illuminating Brain Circuits” will take place on Friday, January 6 at 3:30 p.m. in the Charles E. Schmidt Biomedical Science Center, Room 126, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus.   

Fitzpatrick’s lecture will focus on the use of light to explore the structure, function and development of neural circuits in the living brain. 

“Neural circuits, the complex synaptic networks of the brain, hold the key to understanding who we are, why we behave the way we do, and how we can develop more effective treatments for neurological and psychiatric disorders,” said Fitzpatrick. “Recent advances made possible by bringing together the talents of scientists skilled in a broad range of disciplines — physics, chemistry, genetics, molecular biology, physiology and anatomy — are revolutionizing our ability to investigate how neural circuits are organized, how they function and how they are altered by disease. Many of these advances involve the use of light in combination with molecular probes to visualize and manipulate the cellular and synaptic events that lie at the heart of neural circuit function.”

Fitzpatrick’s scientific contributions have earned him international recognition as a leader in systems neuroscience, with a focus on the functional organization and development of neural circuits in the cerebral cortex – the largest and most complex area of the brain. Prior to joining Max Planck, Fitzpatrick was the James B. Duke Professor of Neurobiology at the Duke University School of Medicine and founding director of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences. He has received a number of awards for his research accomplishments, including an Alfred P. Sloan Research Award, The Cajal Club Cortical Discoverer Award and The McKnight Neuroscience Investigator Award.

“We are honored to host David Fitzpatrick for our Frontiers in Science public lecture series,” said Gary W. Perry, Ph.D., dean of the College of Science. “Now in its 10th year, the lectures are very well attended by members of our community, ranging from retired CEOs and faculty to business owners, teachers and physicians. We look forward to again presenting a series of interesting programs to our audience.”

This lecture is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science and supported by FAU’s Lifelong Learning Society Endowed Professorship in Science.  Printing and mailing of lecture series materials are made possible by a Warren Lloyd Holtzman Seed Grant, a component fund of the Community Foundation of the New River Valley.

For more information, visit or contact Lauren Millan at 561-297-2954 or .


Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. In commemoration of its origin, FAU is celebrating its 50th anniversary throughout 2011. Today, the University serves more than 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. 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. For more information, visit

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