David Fitzpatrick

CEO/Scientific Director

Dr. Fitzpatrick was named Chief Executive Officer and Scientific Director of the Max Planck Florida Institute on January 3, 2011. Prior to his arrival in Jupiter, Dr. Fitzpatrick was the James B. Duke Professor of Neurobiology at the Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC, and Director of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences. His scientific contributions have earned him international recognition as a leader in systems neuroscience, with a focus on the functional organization and development of neural circuits in the cerebral cortex — the largest and most complex area of the brain, whose functions include sensory perception, motor control, and cognition.

Dr. Fitzpatrick’s research has played a pivotal role in defining the functional organization of cortical circuits, exploring rules of intracortical connectivity, addressing mechanisms of neural coding, and probing the role of experience in the maturation of cortical circuits. His current research utilizes state-of-the-art in vivo imaging techniques to probe the functional synaptic architecture of circuits in primary visual cortex, defining the circuit mechanisms that build the selective response properties of cortical neurons and the critical role that neural activity plays in the proper maturation of these circuits.

Research Interests

  • Neural basis of visual perception
  • Functional organization of cortical circuits
  • In vivo imaging of neural activity from columns to synapses
  • Activity-dependent development of cortical networks


  • PhD, Duke University, Psychology/Neuroscience (1982)
  • BS, Pennsylvania State University, Biology (1974)

Recent Publications: