FAU-Max Planck Joint Program Creates Unmatched Opportunities with New M.D./Ph.D. Dual Degree

JUPITER, Fla. (Oct. 4, 2022) – Florida Atlantic University Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine and the Schmidt College of Science, along with the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI), celebrated today an expansion of the FAU-MPFI education and research continuum, signing the new M.D./Ph.D. joint neuroscience program into effect.

            The new accelerated academic dual-degree program is the latest addition to the innovative partnerships between FAU and MPFI, expanding student opportunities in South Florida and nationwide. Key leaders from the collaborative institutions took part in the ceremonious Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing, marking the official launch of the joint program while elevating the academic programming and collaborative research opportunities provided by the partnership. With this new effort, FAU-Max Planck Florida Joint Programs offers solution-oriented research and innovative discovery opportunities from the high school, undergraduate, graduate, Ph.D. – and now – M.D. levels.

“FAU and Max Planck Florida are joining forces to accelerate unmatched education and research opportunities,” said FAU President John Kelly. “The MD./Ph.D. program is another step in welcoming top-tier neuroscience students to our community and providing the collaborative cutting-edge experiences to open new doors for discovery.”

As part of the M.D./Ph.D. program agreement, FAU and MPFI will work in collaboration to provide the physician-scientist program participants with extensive training in both medicine and biomedical research with unique training elements specific to the medical neuroscience career path.

“Over the last decade, we have been privileged to provide more than 350 scientific trainees with access to world-class mentorship and technology, and to encourage them to approach research with curiosity and boldness,” said David Fitzpatrick, Ph.D., CEO and scientific director of MPFI. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to expand this experience to those pursuing a career in medicine, and look forward to creating new opportunities for exceptional physician-scientists right here in South Florida.”

FAU Jupiter continues to be a premier epicenter, broadening the research-focused neuroscience and biomedical opportunities for students, faculty and its community. The M.D./Ph.D. program will continue the pursuit of providing unparalleled academic curriculum, world-class research laboratories and contributions to new discoveries.

The program is slated to begin in fall 2023 with graduation in spring 2030, according to the anticipated course schedule. The physician-scientist students will receive a medical degree and a doctorate in integrative biology – with a concentration in either biomedical sciences or neuroscience – from FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine and the Schmidt College of Science, respectively, upon program completion.

“We are boldly impacting the care and well-being of our community by developing a health care workforce of clinician-scientists from the community, that will give back to the community,” said Julie Pilitsis, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, vice president for medical affairs, and professor of neurosurgery at FAU. “This new dual-degree program, partnering our region’s only medical school with a peerless international neuroscience institute, will have a direct and lasting impact on our college’s ability to attract the best and brightest students.”

The FAU-Max Planck Florida joint M.D./Ph.D. program is an additional element to further the vision of the newly announced FAU Health Network, bringing an academic health network to a population of nearly 4 million in Broward, Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties. With the population of the region continuing to grow, and an estimated shortage of 60,000 nurses and more than 17,000 doctors in Florida, the dual-degree program in part of the FAU Health Network will not only meet these growing patient-care needs, but also will address these workforce challenges by expanding health-related teaching and research infrastructure in our community.

“I am very proud of all that we have accomplished in this partnership so far, and very excited about this new endeavor – the possibilities for our future M.D./Ph.D. students are enormous,” said Kelly.

To learn more about FAU-Max Planck Florida Joint Program opportunities, visit fau.edu/jupiter/education/mp-partnerships/.