Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience

Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience

Even scientists occasionally believe only what they can see. Modern imaging methods and microscopy techniques, such as fluorescence microscopy and magnetic resonance imaging, enable them to watch living cells live at work. Researchers at the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience want to use and develop methods and technologies that will allow them to see the processes occurring inside cells down to the molecular level. It is the Max Planck Society’s first research institute in the USA. Scientists at the Institute are devoting their efforts to, among other things, a three-dimensional map of the cerebral cortex in the brains of mice to graphically represent the position and networking of synapses and nerve cells. These findings will also contribute to a better understanding of the human brain.

All research groups at the Max Planck Florida Institute


One Max Planck Way
Jupiter, FL 33458, USA
Phone: +1 561 972-9000
Fax: +1 561 972-9001

PhD opportunities

This institute has an International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS):
IMPRS for Brain and Behavior

In addition, there is the possibility of individual doctoral research. Please contact the directors or research group leaders at the Institute.

Department Functional Architecture and Development of Cerebral Cortex more
Advanced super-resolution imaging technology benefiting life sciences will now be available in the U.S. more
Researchers from Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience, Duke University, and collaborators have identified a novel signaling system controlling neuronal plasticity more
Visualization of newly formed synapses with unprecedented resolution
Florida-based Max Planck researchers optimize a spatiotemporally controlled method to induce and visualize synapse formation in cortical neurons more
Study by Max Planck Florida scientists points to an active role for dendrites in cortical processing more
Researchers at the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience have created a new scalable, efficient and cost-effective method to accurately and rapidly locate proteins within brain cells. more
In college they called him Stump – as in tree stump – because
of his physique and his strong will. Today, former football player
Samuel Young is a renowned neuroscientist.

CRISPR/Cas9-based genetic editing of mature neurons in the brain

2018 Yasuda, Ryohei
Cell Biology Neurosciences Structural Biology
The CRISPR/Cas9-method allows precise and efficient editing of the cellular genome, with to date unmatched simplicity and speed. So far, however, CRISPR/Cas9 could not be used directly in the brain, because the method does not work properly on mature neurons. We recently discovered that by combining CRISPR/Cas9 with a virus, the method’s efficiency can be increased by several orders of magnitude, enabling the use even in mature neurons – irrespective of cell type, brain region or age. more
Synapses link individual neurons into a functional circuit. Proper cell-to-cell connection is therefore a fundamental mechanism for normal brain functions, and abnormal connections result in various forms of brain disorders or death. During early cortical development, each neuron elongates its axons and dendrites, forming synapses with both interneurons and excitatory neurons. Amazingly, these excitatory and inhibitory synapses are highly intermingled in dendrites with micron-precision, but the specific rules that govern this precise synaptic localization remain unknown. more

Functional Architecture and Development of Cerebral Cortex

2016 Fitzpatrick, David
Cell Biology Neurosciences Structural Biology

The Fitzpatrick Lab is focused on understanding neural circuits in the cerebral cortex, the largest and most complex area of the brain, a neuronal network whose proper function is critical for sensory perception, motor control, and cognition. The lab uses state of the art in vivo imaging techniques to study the synaptic interactions in the visual cortex that enable our remarkable abilities to detect, interpret, and interact with the information-rich patterns of light that fall on the retina. 


Molecular mechanisms of synaptic function

2015 Young, Samuel M., Jr.
Cell Biology Neurosciences Structural Biology

Continuous release of vesicles by synapses is critical to sustain proper information processing by the neuronal circuits. With a finite supply of fusion competent synaptic vesicles in each synapse, both the release and replenishment of vesicles must be balanced to sustain transmission, especially in the auditory brainstem with its rapid and large fluctuations in the firing rates of nerve cells. Elucidating the mechanisms that regulate synaptic vesicle availability is essential to understand how accurate encoding of the localization and intensity of binaural sound is achieved and maintained.


Neuronal signal transduction

2014 Yasuda, Ryohei
Cell Biology Neurosciences Structural Biology

Synaptic plasticity, the ability for synapses to change their connection strength, is thought to underlie learning and memory. Many forms of synaptic plasticity are occurring in small postsynaptic compartments called dendritic spines. Dendritic spines – tiny protrusions emanating from the surface of neurons – are the devices used to store memory in the brain. New technologies now allow to directly monitor the biochemical reactions in individual dendritic spines.

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