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Black Tie International:
 Max Planck Society

Max Planck Society, Tony Jordan, Gladys Benenson, Dr. Peter Gruss, Admiral Philip Whitacre, Dr. Sabine Zimmermann.Daphne Youree Photography
Tony Jordan, Gladys Benenson, Dr. Peter Gruss, Admiral Philip Whitacre,
 Dr. Sabine Zimmermann. 
Photo by:  Daphne Youree Photography




NEW YORK, NY (September 19, 2013) – Suzanne and William J. McDonough, Benton Bohannon and Admiral Philip Whitacre hosted a special dinner on September 10 at a private club in New York City to honor Dr. Peter Gruss for his scientific leadership and contribution to scientific collaboration across international borders. Dr. Gruss is an acclaimed researcher in the field of microbiology and has served as President of the Max Planck Society since 2002.  As a result of Dr. Gruss’s dedication to worldwide scientific excellence, the Max Planck Society is this year’s recipient of Spain’s Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation, which is considered the “Spanish Nobel Prize.” Previous winners of the Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation include the International Red Cross (2012), the World Health Organization (2009) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (2006). 

Germany’s Max Planck Society has led the world in advancing the frontiers of scientific research for over 60 years. The independent, nonprofit organization operates 80 research institutes in Europe with more than 21,000 employees, including researchers and visiting scientists who are pioneering scientific research in areas ranging from astronomy to the humanities. The Max Planck Society has produced 17 Nobel Laureates since 1948, and more than 15,000 publications each year in internationally renowned scientific journals.

Under Dr. Gruss’s leadership, the prestigious organization opened its first institute outside of Europe last year with the establishment of the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience in Jupiter, Fla. The 100,000 sq. ft. research facility opened in December 2012 and currently includes nine distinct research groups focused on the complex synaptic networks of the brain that hold the key to developing treatments for a host of neurological and psychiatric disorders and diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, autism and schizophrenia.

Guests at the dinner included many cultural, financial and civic leaders.  Amongst these were board members of the Max Planck Florida Institute and its Foundation, including Dr. David and Nancy Auth; Alexander and Renate Dreyfoos; Frank Folz; Judge Louis Freeh; Nasser and Yvonne Kazeminy; and Howard and Pat Lester. Also in attendance were Max Planck Florida Institute’s Dr. David Fitzpatrick; Dr. Ryohei Yasuda; Dr. Bert Sakmann; Dr. McLean Bolton; and Dr. Matthias Haury.

 “Dr. Gruss is an exceptional scientist, leader, and visionary who has built an international research community sharing the core values that lie at the heart of the society’s scientific success,” said Dr. Fitzpatrick, scientific director and CEO. “He has been a global ambassador for basic research, using his influence to create world-changing scientific partnerships.”

Prior to the dinner reception, the Max Planck Florida Institute hosted an interactive panel discussion for nearly 75 members of the Science Writers in New York (SWINY) and Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ) on the importance of technology and recent breakthroughs in brain research. The panel included scientific directors from both Florida and Germany, and was moderated by Ron Winslow, Deputy Editor of Health & Science at the Wall Street Journal.  Dr. Peter Gruss provided an overview on the global impact that the Max Planck Society is contributing to scientific research.


joyce brooks, gerard mckeon.  photo by:  rose billings

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