Phillip Taylor working with Dr. Smirnov


The Postbaccalaureate Program at the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI) provides recent college graduates who plan to apply to graduate school an opportunity to spend one or two years performing full-time research at MPFI.

Postbaccalaureate Fellows (“Postbacs”) work under the mentorship of some of the world’s leading scientists in an environment that focuses exclusively on basic neuroscience research. MPFI consists of nine research groups in a state-of-the-art research facility in Jupiter, FL, on the same campus as Florida Atlantic University and The Herbert Wertheim UF Scripps Institute for Biomedical Innovation & Technology.

Potential candidates are encouraged to identify principal investigators that match their research interests before applying to the program by browsing the MPFI website. Each postbac will be placed in a research group and work on a semi-independent project with close mentorship often provided by a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow. MPFI’s Electron Microscopy Core Facility also offers training opportunities for postbacs through collaborative projects with the Research Group Leaders.

Postbacs are regularly exposed to leaders in neuroscience outside of MPFI in the ongoing MPFI scientific seminar series, NeuroMEETS seminar series, Advanced Neuroimaging Techniques Course and the Sunposium Conference. In addition to cutting-edge neuroscience research exposure, postbacs participate in various career education and professional development activities, including workshops on preparing graduate school applications, poster and oral presentations, and other topics to help postbacs become well-rounded scientific professionals. MPFI provides a vibrant and supportive training environment with regular scientific and social events to foster interactions between trainees and scientists at the institute.

Download our Postbac Program Brochure


Ideal candidates for the MPFI Postbaccalaureate Program are college graduates who have received their bachelor’s degree less than three years prior to the start date of the program and who are planning to pursue a Ph.D. in biological/biomedical sciences. Candidates intending to apply to M.D./Ph.D. programs are also suitable. International candidates are eligible to apply. Candidates with neuroscience or related research experience are preferred. Postbac fellows must be available to work full-time for the entire duration of the program and cannot be simultaneously employed or enrolled in a degree-granting program. The 2024-2025 Postbac Program will run from August 1, 2024 to July 31, 2025.


Postbac Fellows receive a competitive salary and benefits. Compensation is commensurate with experience and is adjusted annually.

Application Process

The application window for 2024/2025 Postbac program is now closed. 

Applicants must provide the following information and documents:

  1. Basic contact information (Name, mailing address, phone number, email)
  2. Names and contact information for two referees (faculty level strongly preferred)
  3. CV/resume
  4. Research Statement (1,000 words max)
    Please provide a research statement describing your qualifications and motivation for applying to the Postbac Program at MPFI. In your research statement, succinctly describe (1) your previous research experience (including experimental approaches and data analysis tools used) and how this experience has prepared you for the Postbac Program at MPFI, (2) your academic and career goals and how the Postbac Program will help you achieve these goals, and (3) which research group you are most interested in working with at MPFI and why.
  5. Unofficial transcripts for every university that you have attended



Applications will be reviewed following the application period, and the top candidates will be invited to interview in late March. Individual PIs will select their postbac fellows from the applicants that advance beyond the interview round. Offers for the Postbac Program are anticipated to be extended by April.

For inquiries regarding MPFI’s Postbac Program, please contact

Postbac Publications

*Bolded author indicates MPFI Postbac Fellow

  • Bapat, O., Purimetla, T., Kruessel, S., Shah, M., Fan, R., Thum, C., Rupprecht, F., Langer, J. D., & Rangaraju, V. (2024). VAP spatially stabilizes dendritic mitochondria to locally support synaptic plasticity. Nature Communications, 15(205).
  • Connon I. Thomas, Melissa A. Ryan, Naomi Kamasawa, Benjamin Scholl. (2023). Postsynaptic mitochondria are positioned to support functional diversity of dendritic spines. eLife12.
  • Colgan, L. A., Parra-Bueno P., Holman, H. L., Tu, X., Jain, A., Calubag, M. F., Misler, J. A., Gary, C., Oz, G., Suponitsky-Kroyter, I., Okaz, E., & Yasuda, R. (2023). Dual regulation of spine-specific and synapse-to-nucleus signaling by PKCδ during plasticity. The Journal of Neuroscience, .
  • Hyun, J. H., Nagahama, K., Namkung, H., Mignocchi, N., Roh, S.-E., Hannan, P., Krüssel, S., Kwak, C., McElroy, A., Liu, B., Cui, M., Lee, S., Lee, D., Huganir, R. L., Worley, P. F., Sawa, A., & Kwon, H.-B. (2022). Tagging active neurons by soma-targeted Cal-Light. Nature Communications13(1), Article 1.
  • Guerrero-Given, D., Goldin, S. L., Thomas, C. I., Anthony, S. A., Jerez, D., & Kamasawa, N. (2022). Gold In-and-Out: A Toolkit for Analyzing Subcellular Distribution of Immunogold-Labeled Membrane Proteins in Freeze-Fracture Replica Images. Frontiers in Neuroanatomy16.
  • Schumacher, J. W., McCann, M. K., Maximov, K. J., & Fitzpatrick, D. (2022). Selective enhancement of neural coding in V1 underlies fine-discrimination learning in tree shrew. Current Biology, 32, 1-16.
  • Scholl B.*, Tepohl C.*, Ryan M.A., Thomas C.I., Kamasawa N., and Fitzpatrick D. (2022). A binocular synaptic network supports interocular response alignment in visual cortical neurons. Neuron, 110, 1-12.
  • Asede D, Okoh J, Ali S., Doddapaneni D., Bolton M.M. (2021). Deletion of ErbB4 Disrupts Synaptic Transmission and Long-Term Potentiation of Thalamic Input to Amygdalar Medial Paracapsular Intercalated Cells. Front. Synaptic Neurosci., 13, 697110.
  • Hayano, Y., Ishino, Y., Hyun, J.H., Orozco, C.G., Steinecke, A., Potts, E., Oisi, Y., Thomas, C.I., Guerrero-Given, D., Kim, E., Kwon, H., Kamasawa, N., and Taniguchi, H. (2021). IgSF11 homophilic adhesion proteins promote layer-specific synaptic assembly of the cortical interneuron subtype. Science Advances, 7(29), eabf1600.
  • Asede, D.*, Doddapaneni, D.*, Chavez, A., Okoh, J., Ali, S., Von-Walter, C., Bolton, M.M. (2021) Apical intercalated cell cluster: A distinct sensory regulator in the amygdala. Cell Reports, 35(7), 109151.
  • Jerez, D., Stuart, E., Schmitt, K., Guerrero-Given, D., Christie, J., Kamasawa, N., and Smirnov, S. (2021) A deep learning approach to identifying immunogold particles in electron microscopy images. Scientific Reports, 117771.
  • Scholl, B.*, Thomas, C.I.*, Ryan, M.A., Kamasawa, N., Fitzpatrick, D. (2020). Cortical response selectivity derives from strength in numbers of synapses. Nature, 590(7844), 111–114.
  • Thomas, C.I., Ryan, M.A., Scholl, B., Guerrero-Given, D., Fitzpatrick, D., and Kamasawa, N. (2020). Targeting Functionally Characterized Synaptic Architecture Using Inherent Fiducials and 3D Correlative Microscopy. Microscopy and Microanalysis, 27(1), 1–14.
  • Tu, X., Yasuda, R., and Colgan, L.A. (2020). Rac1 is a downstream effector of PKCα in structural synaptic plasticity. Scientific Reports, 10, 1–9.
  • Laviv, T., Scholl, B., Parra-Bueno, P., Foote, B., Zhang, C., Yan, L., Hayano, Y., Chu, J., and Yasuda, R. (2019). In Vivo Imaging of the Coupling between Neuronal and CREB Activity in the Mouse Brain. Neuron, 105, 799-812.e5.
  • Lee, K.-S., Vandemark, K., Mezey, D., Shultz, N., and Fitzpatrick, D. (2019). Functional Synaptic Architecture of Callosal Inputs in Mouse Primary Visual Cortex. Neuron, 101(3), 421-428.e5.
  • Thomas, C.I., Keine, C., Okayama, S., Satterfield, R., Musgrove, M., Guerrero-Given, D., Kamasawa N, and Young, S.M. (2019). Presynaptic mitochondria volume and abundance increase during development of a high-fidelity synapse. J. Neurosci., 39(41), 7994–8012.
  • Smirnov, M.S., Garret, T.R., and Yasuda, R. (2018). An open-source tool for analysis and automatic identification of dendritic spines using machine learning. PLoS One, 13(7), e0199589.
  • Smirnov, M.S., Evans, P.R., Garrett, T.R., Yan, L., Yasuda, R. (2017). Automated Remote Focusing, Drift Correction, and Photostimulation to Evaluate Structural Plasticity in Dendritic Spines. PLoS One, 12, e0170586.
  • Steinecke, A., Hozhabri, E., Tapanes, S., Ishino, Y., Zeng, H., Kamasawa, N., and Taniguchi, H. (2017). Neocortical Chandelier Cells Developmentally Shape Axonal Arbors through Reorganization but Establish Subcellular Synapse Specificity without Refinement. eNeuro, 4(3): ENEURO.0057-17.2017.
  • Lee, D.*, Hyun, J.H.*, Jung, K., Hannan, P., and Kwon, H.-B. (2017). A calcium- and light-gated switch to induce gene expression in activated neurons. Nat. Biotech., 35, 858-863.
  • Lee, D.*, Creed, M.*, Jung, K.*, Stefanelli, T., Wendler, D.J., Oh, W.C., Mignocchi, N.L., Lüscher, C., and Kwon, H.-B. (2017). Temporally precise labeling and control of neuromodulatory circuits in the mammalian brain. Nature Methods, 14, 495-503.

Postbac Photos