FAU-MAX PLANCK SIGN INNOVATIVE AGREEMENT

FAUFlorida Atlantic University, the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI) and the Max Planck Society based in Germany, have signed an innovative agreement to facilitate a research and education program that will recruit promising scientists to MPFI and FAU.

These early-career recruits will be exposed to career development opportunities typically available to more seasoned faculty, including tenure-track appointments at FAU, and have the opportunity to work on FAU’s John D. MacArthur Campus in Jupiter, Fla. This new agreement adds to a previous one and is another big step for the FAU\MPFI burgeoning partnership as these new recruits will explore diverse approaches to understanding brain function including the neural basis of sensory processing, motor control and learning and memory.

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PALM BEACH COUNTY 9TH GRADER NAMED AMERICA’S TOP YOUNG SCIENTIST IN NATION’S PREMIER MIDDLE SCHOOL SCIENCE COMPETITION

HANNAHDiscovery Education and 3M have named 15 year-old Hannah Herbstfrom Boca Raton, Fla. the winner of the 2015 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. Herbst created an energy probe prototype that seeks to offer a stable power source to developing countries by using untapped energy from ocean currents. This innovation was inspired by Herbst’s desire to help her 9-year-old pen pal living in Ethiopia who lacks a reliable source of power and electricity.  Herbst’s scientific thinking reflected the competition’s goal of applying science to everyday life, creating a solution that will improve lives and strengthen communities around the globe.

Herbst, a ninth grader from Florida Atlantic University High School, competed alongside nine other middle school finalists yesterday during a live competition at the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, Minn. She was awarded the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist” as well as a $25,000 cash prize.

To download hi-res images and b-roll footage of the science competition, go to www.youngscientistchallengemedia.com.

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JUPITER SCIENTIST’S PLAN TO ‘TRICK’ INCURABLE DISEASES WINS $4.8M

A Jupiter scientist’s ambitious proposal to take on more than 30 incurable illnesses including Lou Gehrig’s Disease has won a prestigious $4.8 million, five-year award announced Tuesday by the National Institutes of Health.
Matthew D. Disney, a professor on the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute, has been awarded a 2015 Pioneer Award, one of 13 given this year.

scrips disney photoThe award is part of the federal agency’s High Risk, High Reward research program, officials said. Disney pitched a plan to defuse devastating illnesses by getting diseased cells to open their doors to chemical con artists that seek out and work only on them.

“Really what we want to do is show this works not just for one disease but many diseases,” Disney told The Palm Beach Post. “This is an immense challenge.”

The idea, as he put it in a statement that formally announced the award, is to “trick disease-affected cells into making their own drug against diseases for which there are no known cures.”

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PALM BEACH COUNTY WANTS TO EXPAND LIFE SCIENCE INDUSTRY

test tube graphic 2Palm Beach County‘s life science industry — controversial for the amount of tax dollars sunk into it more than a decade ago — will be put under a microscope for potential expansion.

Business Development Board president Kelly Smallridge on Tuesday unveiled an effort aimed at expanding the county’s life science businesses.

The economic development group is “going back to the table to inventory the county’s life science assets,” Smallridge said.

A $55,000 study by Maryland-based Facility Logix will help the Business Development Board understand the assets of the life science sector and identify gaps to better market the county, she said.

The county’s biotech sector includes Scripps Florida and the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience in Jupiter, about 200 biotech companies, hospitals, and educational programs including Scripps, Max Planck and Florida Atlantic University’s School of Medicine.

Now that Florida’s economy has essentially recovered from the recession, Smallridge said it’s time for economic officials to make a bigger play for science-related businesses as well as figure how to keep spin-off companies from the institutes in the area.

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