January 30, 2023

Research Florida

Max Planck Florida Institute: Finely Focused

Mike Vogel | 9/11/2017

Fitzpatrick says the presence of Abberior and the only such microscope in the nation enhances the reputation of the county and state for “best-in-class” research tools. After showing off the microscope in April, south Florida scientists held a sort of reception for Abberior. Scripps and FAU researchers already had put the new microscope through its paces — Max Planck, Scripps, which is across the street from Max Planck, and FAU have agreed to share Jupiter facilities and equipment. (Scripps last year bought a world-class microscope of its own with a $500,000 donation from the Iris and Junming Le Foundation.)

The Jupiter “neuroscience community” is coming together, Fitzpatrick observed. “FAU is a fantastic partner. The scientists at Scripps, we have a fantastic relationship. We all recognize our individual successes really build the whole entity.”

FAU President John Kelly, at the reception, says FAU grad students working with Max Planck already have been credited as researchers in an article in Nature, “one of those impossible scientific journals to get into.” Fitzpatrick helped FAU in its recruitment of Vanderbilt University scientist Randy Blakely [“Neuroscience Pillar”] to head its brain institute. Fitzpatrick and Kelly traveled to Germany together last year for an FAU-Max Planck collaboration and to Tallahassee to promote the area’s agenda. The institutions are sharing equipment and knowledge and, says Kelly, “our students get access to a Nobel Prize winner. Here, in Palm Beach. I love it.”

Hell, the Nobel laureate, hopes his sabbatical year in Jupiter allows him to improve microscope capabilities further. “There is still more to be done,” he says. “This is a fantastic place to do that.”


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