Max Planck Junior Scholars Program

The Max Planck Junior Scholars Program offers summer internships to excellent high-school students to gain research experience at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research (Frankfurt am Main), the Max Planck Institute of Biophysics (Frankfurt am Main) or the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research (Bad Nauheim) and to become enthusiastic for a future career in the natural sciences. Students currently enrolled in grade 10 or 11 are eligible to apply. Applicants from abroad need to be 18+ years. The next call for application will open on February 1st, 2020. Please find important instructions on the downloadable application form at the bottom of this page.

Our program includes a summer internship in a host laboratory (minimum of two weeks), in 2020, including the period of July 6 - July 17th which can be followed by weekly visits to the lab (1-2 hours each) during the new school year. During this time the scholar will work together with a mentor (either a research assistant, graduate student or a postdoctoral fellow) on a scientific project which can be presented during a lab meeting or as a report.

Starting with one student in 2012, we had twenty three students at the Institute in the summer of 2019. Anna Buskhrikidze and Maddie Dawson, two students from New York taking part in 2016, wrote us the following feedback: "Through out our past experience with science classes in New York public schools, there were limitations to most of our experiments. We signed up for this course not knowing what to expect, but with the help of our mentor, Robert Naumann, we were able to explore subjects in science that we never thought we would touch on. For example, observing a perfusion on a lizard, calcium staining, and in situ hybridization. The Max Planck Institute members was very welcoming and were very patient with us. They were kind enough to share their projects with us and in some cases allowed us to contribute. The Junior Scholar Program helped us gain a better perspective on our possible careers in the future and understand the field of science in a more detailed way."

In 2014, four students from the Frankfurt International School made a short film about the program.

Participating Labs

Connectomics – Moritz Helmsteadter (
The Helmstaedter Lab develops and applies high-throughput methods for measuring communication maps of neuronal circuits in order to decipher how the cerebral cortex stores sensory experience and uses it to detect objects.

Neural Systems and coding – Gilles Laurent (
The Laurent Lab is interested in the behavior, dynamics and emergent properties of networks of interacting neurons or neuron populations, and focuses principally on olfactory and visual systems.

Synaptic Plasticity – Erin Schuman (
The Schuman Lab investigates how the cell biological mechanisms at the synapses, points of contact and communication between neurons, transmit information and modify circuits to store information.

Theory of Neural Dynamics - Tatjana Tchumatchenko (
The Tchumatchenko Lab focuses on the computational modeling and mathematical analysis of single neurons, neuronal populations and recurrent networks.

Computation in Neural Circuits - Julijana Gjorgjieva (
The Gjorgjieva Lab uses theoretical and computational approaches to understand how neurons and the connections between them get organized during neural circuit development, and how they change during learning.

Memory and Navigation Circuits - Hiroshi Ito (
The Ito Lab investigates neural circuits for spatial navigation behaviors, interested in how animals can choose an optimal route to the goal location.

Neurovascular Interface – Amparo Acker-Palmer (
The Acker-Palmer Lab aims to elucidating molecular pathways involved in crosstalk between vessels and nerves in order to find out the role of neurons, endothelial cells and astrocytes at the neurovascular interface.

Theoretical Biophysics – Gerhard Hummer (
The Hummer Lab uses computational methods to explore the structure, dynamics, and function of biomolecules and their complexes.

Newly participating lab: Martin Beck (Max Planck Institute of Biophysics)
The Beck lab investigates the structure, function and assembly of very large macromolecular complexes in the context of living cells using integrative, in situ structural biology techniques.

Developmental Genetics – Didier Stainier (
The Stainier Lab investigates questions related to organogenesis including cell differentiation, tissue morphogenesis, organ homeostasis and function, as well as organ regeneration.

The 2020 call for applications has now closed. The deadline to apply was on March 15, 2020. Many thanks for your applications! These are currently under review.

Please note, only applicants that are available for an internship starting on July 6, 2020 (ending July 17, 2020 or later, in agreement with the accepting department) are eligible to apply. Applicants from abroad need to be 18+ years!




Dr. Irina Epstein
Coordinator Max Planck Junior Scholars Program

T: +49 69 850033-2900

M: +49 175 2647988