MPFI and FAU Launch New MD/Ph.D. Partnership

October 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,

About Florida Atlantic University:

Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students across six campuses located along the southeast Florida coast. In recent years, the University has doubled its research expenditures and outpaced its peers in student achievement rates. Through the coexistence of access and excellence, FAU embodies an innovative model where traditional achievement gaps vanish. FAU is designated a Hispanic-serving institution, ranked as a top public university by U.S. News & World Report and a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information, visit

 About the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine:

Florida Atlantic University’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine is one of approximately 155 accredited medical schools in the U.S. The college was launched in 2010, when the Florida Board of Governors made a landmark decision authorizing FAU to award the M.D. degree. After receiving approval from the Florida legislature and the governor, it became the 134th allopathic medical school in North America. With more than 70 full and part-time faculty and more than 1,300 affiliate faculty, the college matriculates up to 72 medical students each year and has been nationally recognized for its innovative curriculum. To further FAU’s commitment to increase much needed medical residency positions in Palm Beach County and to ensure that the region will continue to have an adequate and well-trained physician workforce, the FAU Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine Consortium for Graduate Medical Education (GME) was formed in fall 2011 with five leading hospitals in Palm Beach County. The Consortium currently has five Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited residencies including internal medicine, surgery, emergency medicine, psychiatry, and neurology. The college’s vibrant research focus areas include healthy aging, neuroscience, chronic pain management, precision medicine and machine learning. With community at the forefront, the college offers the local population a variety of evidence-based, clinical services that treat the whole person. Jointly, FAU Medicine’s Primary Care practice and the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health have been designed to provide complete health and wellness under one roof. For more information, visit

About the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience:

The Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI), a not-for-profit research organization, is part of the world-renowned Max Planck Society, Germany’s most successful research organization with 86 institutes worldwide. Since its establishment in 1948, 22 Nobel laureates have emerged from the ranks of its scientists. As its first U.S. institution, MPFI provides exceptional neuroscientists from around the world with the resources and technology to answer fundamental questions about brain development and function. MPFI researchers employ a curiosity-driven approach to science to develop new technologies that make groundbreaking scientific discoveries possible. For more information, visit