April 2018

Florida Atlantic University and Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI) have combined forces to form the first jointly supported position between the two institutions. As of May 1, Ken Dawson-Scully, Ph.D., will be newly appointed to the role of associate vice president for strategic initiatives and head of institutional partnerships for FAU and MPFI. Joining FAU in 2008, Dawson-Scully served as associate director of the FAU Brain Institute and most recently as an associate professor of biological sciences and associate dean for graduate studies in FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science.

“For almost a decade, the close and synergistic partnership between Florida Atlantic University and Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience has been undeniably beneficial for our institutions and Palm Beach County,” said FAU President John Kelly. “This latest initiative will foster tremendous returns on our co-investment for educational and research opportunities, economic development, as well as faculty and student recruitment. Together, we will continue to strengthen our thriving alliance; enhancing recognition and visibility both locally and globally.”

In this joint FAU/MPFI position, Dawson-Scully will work closely with the executive leadership team of both institutions under the direction of Matthias Haury, Ph.D., MPFI’s COO and Jeff Atwater, FAU’s vice president for strategic initiatives and CFO.

“We are excited to further reinforce the flourishing relationship with our partners at Florida Atlantic University. Our joint efforts will continue to facilitate unique collaborative opportunities between our institutions and inspire a vibrant, creative space where groundbreaking innovations in science and technology will prosper,” said David Fitzpatrick, Ph.D., CEO and scientific director of MPFI. “This collaborative environment will allow us the opportunity to better tackle the areas of focus that are critical to the success of both of our institutions’ missions, goals and aspirations.”

In his new role, Dawson-Scully will be responsible for developing and implementing key initiatives in areas that are crucial to FAU and MPFI. These initiatives will include co-branding programs, enhancing infrastructure, developing new educational programs, identifying and securing joint funding opportunities, conducting research training, building partnerships, and fostering collaboration between academic and administrative units.

Additionally, as the head of this new initiative, Dawson-Scully will act as a liaison for both institutes, developing and sustaining strong relationships with local and international foundations, corporations, government and community groups.

“I am both honored and excited to serve in this new capacity for Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience and Florida Atlantic University. My ultimate goal is to escalate our international reputation and expand our distinguished faculty, recruiting talented students and world-class scientists to our institutions,” said Dawson-Scully. “By combining our expertise, knowledge and resources, our close partnership will generate significant impact, benefitting the local, regional and international communities.”

The most recent joint program, where FAU and MPFI have partnered, is the FAU Max Planck Honors Program. The FAU MPHP is an elite undergraduate program that can be accomplished as an undergraduate student, in either FAU’s Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College or the College of Science, focused on the John D. MacArthur Campus at Jupiter. Applications for the first cohort for this fall are due April 30, and more information for the FAU MPHP can be found at http://fau.edu/mphp.

Dawson-Scully received his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 2003, and his M.Sc. from Queen’s University in 1998. He currently serves on the steering committee and is a faculty member of the newly formed International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS). A highly accomplished researcher, his work investigates ways to protect the brain from neurodegeneration caused by acute or chronic cellular stress using the genetic model organism, the fruit fly or D. melanogaster. Dawson-Scully has identified a number of molecular targets in the fruit fly nervous system that can rescue the damaging effects of pathological conditions such as high temperature, low oxygen, and oxidative stress. This impactful research opens up new avenues for the future treatment of human diseases such as stroke and epilepsy. His findings, which have been successfully translated from fly, to zebrafish, fresh water turtle, and mouse, have led to the submissions of four novel United States patents for the medical treatment of febrile seizure, migraine, and stroke in humans. Dawson-Scully also serves as the chief scientific officer for Neuro Pharmalogics, Inc., an FAU Tech Runway® start-up company that has licensed his intellectual property for the purpose of creating novel therapeutics aimed at combating brain related diseases.


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