Max Planck Florida Researcher Receives Prestigious NIH New Innovator Award

 Research into the neural mechanisms underlying addiction and eating disorders has earned Max Planck Florida researcher Dr. Sarah Stern a prestigious new award from the NIH. Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI) announces that Dr. Sarah Stern has been awarded an NIH Director’s New Innovator Award. This award will provide Dr. Stern and MPFI with $2.85 million in research funding support over five years and is part of the NIH’s High-Risk-High-Reward Research Program of the NIH Common Fund.

Interoception is the body’s ability to sense its internal state and bodily sensations, such as hunger, heart rate and emotions, and dysfunction is thought to underlie both addictive behaviors and mental health disorders. The Stern Lab is using novel transcriptomic and calcium imaging methods to uncover how interoception is encoded in the brain, which will enable the researchers to gain insight into the neural underpinnings of the complex behaviors that underlie anorexia, addiction, and other psychiatric disorders.

“I am incredibly honored to receive this award. Research into mental illnesses like eating disorders has traditionally been underfunded, and it is exciting to see the growing interest in this important area of investigation. My lab and I are grateful to the NIH for their interest and investment into this research,” said Dr. Stern.

Established in 2007, the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award (NIA) is a highly selective award that recognizes early career researchers who demonstrate exceptional creativity and innovation in projects related to behavioral, social, or biomedical research. This is the second time in just two years that an MPFI researcher has received this award.

Dr. Sarah Stern started her position as Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience in January 2021, leading the Integrative Neural Circuits and Behavior research group. The laboratory’s current research focuses on understanding, from genes to circuits, how learning integrates with internal drives to produce flexible behavioral outcomes.

Previously, Dr. Stern completed postdoctoral training at Rockefeller University with Dr. Jeffrey Friedman, where she focused on identifying top-down neural circuits and associated mechanisms underlying non-homeostatic feeding behaviors. During that time, she was awarded a Brain & Behavior Research Foundation NARSAD Young Investigator Award, an NIH F32 NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship, and an NIH BRAIN Initiative K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award.

Dr. Stern earned her Ph.D. in 2014 from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in the laboratory of Dr. Cristina Alberini, where she was supported by an NIH F31 predoctoral fellowship. For her graduate studies, she examined the role of Insulin and Insulin-Like Growth Factor 2 on memory consolidation and enhancement, as well as the role of astrocytic lactate release on long-term memory. Prior to that, Dr. Stern conducted research with Dr. Joseph LeDoux as an undergraduate student at New York University, where she graduated magna cum laude with Honors.

Dr. Stern was named a STAT Wunderkind in 2021 and a One Mind Foundation Rising Star in 2022.

This NIA is supported by the NIH’s High-Risk-High-Reward Research Program of the NIH Common Fund and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the National Institutes of Health under award number DP2 OD034905-01. 

About Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience
Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI), a not-for-profit research organization, is part of the world-renowned Max Planck Society, Germany’s most successful research organization with over 80 institutes worldwide. Since its establishment, 30 Nobel laureates have emerged from the ranks of its scientists. As its first U.S. institution, MPFI provides exceptional neuroscientists from around the world with the resources and technology to answer fundamental questions about brain development and function. MPFI researchers employ a curiosity-driven approach to science to develop innovative technologies that make groundbreaking scientific discoveries possible. For more information, visit

Katie Edwards, Head of Communication
Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience
+1 (561) 679-7395 | @MPFNeuro

Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience
Katie Edwards



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  • Neurology
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  • Scientific Research
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Florida and South Georgia Argus Broker Affiliates Announce Recent Self Storage Sales

 Weaver Realty Group is pleased to announce the following the recent sales:

Englewood, FL Self-Storage Development Site, located at 3904 N Access Rd. This sale included 1.7 acres of fully entitled land for 90,000 GRSF of self-storage.

Tampa, FL Self-Storage Development Site, located at 12640 Race Track Rd. This sale included 0.5 acres of fully entitled land for 63,525 GRSF of self-storage.

St. Johns Big Toy Lockers, located at 2771 FL-44 in DeLand, FL. The sale included 4 buildings totaling 38,330 GRSF, 91 units with a mix of uncovered, covered, and enclosed Boat and RV storage on 7.5 acres.

Kingsland Keeps Storage, located at 1301 Winding Oaks Rd in Kingsland, GA. This 6.39-acre Certificate of Occupancy sale included 40,150 GRSF, 333 units of climate-controlled storage as well as an expansion opportunity for an additional ~20,000 GRSF.

Weaver Realty has been the Argus Self Storage Advisor Affiliate since 1999 covering the state of Florida and now newly acquired South Georgia territory. During that time, we have specialized in the acquisition, disposition, and evaluation of self-storage properties of all types and sizes. For information, reach out to Josh Koerner at 904-591-0140.

Based in Denver, Colorado, Argus Self Storage Advisors (Argus) was formed in 1994 to assist owners and investors of self-storage with their real estate needs. Through the years, Argus has assembled a network of real estate brokers experienced in self-storage and income property investments. Now the largest self-storage brokerage network in the United States, the Argus network has 36 Broker Affiliates covering nearly 40 markets. These brokers are able to meet the needs of self-storage investors and owners whether it is acting as a buyer’s agent or listing and marketing a property. For more information, call 1-800-55-STORE or visit

Argus Self Storage Advisors
Amy Hitchingham



  • Commercial Real Estate

Hispanic Unity of Florida Opens Invitation in Commemorating a Decade of the Entrepreneur Summit: Reuniting South Florida Business Owners

 Returning for its 10th year and fully in-person once again, Hispanic Unity of Florida’s (HUF) 2023 Entrepreneur Summit (E-Summit) aims to provide a platform for networking, learning, idea exchange, and collaboration among entrepreneurs showcasing the diverse array of businesses that contribute to South Florida’s economy. The event connects aspiring and emerging business owners to subject matter experts from the private, public, and non-profit sectors to learn what it takes to succeed in business, network with like-minded professionals, and get inspired by those who have achieved success in business.

This year’s event will be held on Friday, October 20 at Nova Southeastern University in the Alan B. Levan | NSU Broward Center of Innovation from 8:00 am until 1:00 pm.

The American Dreamer Award recipients are individuals recognized for their steadfast success, business acumen and community service.

The event also features an education component, a much-requested Marketing Masterclass, Exploring the Fusion of AI and Digital Marketing at noon. The marketing classes are led by the following marketing mavens:

· Alexandra Palau, owner of All About Email Marketing
· Anthony Santana, owner of Hardcore Advertising
· Mari Naranjo, owner of DreamCatcher Marketing

To register today, visit

Felipe Pinzon, President and CEO of Hispanic Unity of Florida, eloquently captures the essence of the Entrepreneur Summit “Launching a new business or running a small business comes with many challenges. We are excited that we can bring together entrepreneurs and business professionals to collaborate, network, inspire, and learn from each other. Despite the hurdles, being a small business owner requires an act of will and unlimited determination. We are so excited to be back in-person, fully committed to our core mission of providing information, inspiration, and connection. It’s a platform where business owners can draw motivation from each other’s creativity, determination, innovation, pivots, and difficult choices. The E-Summit is the perfect opportunity to gain valuable insights and expand your small business network with like-minded professionals.”

Pricing: Complimentary sponsored admission (Free)
Parking: Complimentary. Located in the garage directly across from NSU’s Business School and the Carl DeSantis Building

For sponsorship information: Shani Wilson, VP of Development, at 754-260-0409 or

About Hispanic Unity of Florida (HUF)
Hispanic Unity of Florida was founded in 1982 by community leaders to guide newcomers to the U.S. on their journey to their American dream and to ease the acculturation process. Today, HUF is Broward County’s non-profit organization dedicated to the immigrant population. With 12 programs and more than 30 services offered in 4 languages, this agency serves South Florida’s diverse community. Since its inception, HUF has served over 520,000 individuals. For more information visit: or call 954-964-8884.

Hispanic Unity of Florida
Katherin Gallego



  • Business
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Florida Association of ACOs Welcomes Koda Health as Member

 The Florida Association of Accountable Care Organizations (FLAACOS) proudly announces the membership of Koda Health, a leading Advanced Care Planning (ACP) company. As the state with the largest elderly population in the United States, Florida’s ACOs will benefit from Koda’s ACP solutions, especially given that by 2030, the senior citizen population in Florida is projected to increase to over 7 million, with close to 80% of them managing one chronic condition or another.

Koda Health’s unique, patient-centered approach streamlines ACP for patients, offering them a simple and convenient way to explore their values, select a surrogate decision maker, define their quality of life, indicate treatments that matter, and complete and share their advance directives without burdening their care team. With this three-pronged approach, Koda Health’s solution empowers ACOs in Florida to improve healthcare outcomes and quality of life while achieving valuable cost savings.

Dr. Desh Mohan, Chief Medical Officer at Koda Health, expressed his enthusiasm in providing quality ACP for Floridians, “We’ve developed a comprehensive suite of tools to provide thorough and thoughtful ACP on behalf of ACOs throughout Florida. We’re eager to provide Floridians with this valuable service, allowing them to craft healthcare that aligns with their quality of life.” Koda Health’s expertise in Advance Care Planning brings FLAACOS’ other members a value-based care solution that is scalable to their organizational needs and circumstances.

The partnership between FLAACOS and Koda Health will benefit Florida’s senior citizens and the state’s ACOs by enabling ACOs to provide enhanced, patient-centered care and aligning healthcare with their patients’ values and quality of life.

According to Nicole Bradberry, CEO of FLAACOS, “So much of healthcare is decided during crisis situations and not always according to what the patient wants and needs. Koda Health’s solutions allow patients and providers to collaborate on what they want before a health crisis occurs. This will not only provide better quality care but typically more efficient care.”

As FLAACOS continues to serve Floridians, the inclusion of Koda Health provides the opportunity for proactive, patient-centered care that prevent unnecessary hospitalizations and readmissions, while amplifying patient agency.

About Koda Health
Koda Health builds tools that simplify difficult conversations in healthcare. Clinically validated and research-driven, Koda’s flagship ACP tools provide payors and providers the ability to engage their patients in valuable conversations about their care preferences. Through Koda, patients have a single source to explore their values, identify a surrogate decision maker, define their quality of life, indicate treatments that matter, and complete and share advance directives — all without burdening their care team. By working with health systems and health plans, Koda increases revenue for billing providers, drives cost savings for at-risk systems, and ultimately is able to offer their services to patients completely for free. For more information on Koda Health, visit For media requests, please contact Fady Shanow, MPH at or

About FLAACOS, a ValueH Organization
ValueH is the leading member organization in the U.S. with a dedicated focus on driving positive and sustainable change in how value-based care is delivered and reimbursed. Founded in 2012, ValueH’s FLAACOs (Florida Association of ACOs) is a professional organization for accountable care organizations and healthcare leaders throughout Florida and beyond. The association brings organizations together and drives providers to work together to increase the quality of care delivered to patients while significantly lowering medical costs overall. To learn more please visit our websites at and and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Florida Association of ACOs
Samantha Marves



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Florida Coalition for Children has record breaking attendance at annual conference

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.July 26, 2023PRLogFlorida Coalition for Children 2023 Conference Tops 700 Attendees, Recognizes Outstanding Leadership
The Florida Coalition for Children Foundation and the FCC Learning Community held its 2023 Annual Conference last week at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort in Bonita Springs, Florida where an all-time high number of attendees enjoyed two days focused on child and family well-being with inspiring keynote speakers, educational offerings by national experts, the 2023 FCC Awards program, a bustling trade show, and networking at several fun events.

Monday’s Keynote Speaker Amelia Franck Meyer is a 34-year veteran of the child welfare field and the founder and CEO of the national non-profit, Alia International. Amelia and Team Alia collaborate with parents and partners to create a national movement to keep children safe with, not from, their families. She was named one of People Magazine’s “25 Women Changing the World” in 2018 and 2020 and has a widely viewed TEDx Talk on the human need for belonging.

Keynote Speaker Dr. Kimberly Noble, MD, PhD, a Professor of Neuroscience and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, addressed the general session Tuesday. As a neuroscientist and board-certified pediatrician, she studies how socioeconomic inequality relates to children’s cognitive and brain development. Her work and TEDx Talk (…) examines socioeconomic disparities in brain structure and function across infancy, childhood, and adolescence.

The 2023 workshop roster of twenty-five sessions was carefully created from a list of national experts as well as Florida-centered leaders in community-based care. Topics of the workshops ranged from national movements like Thriving Families Safer Children, to addressing childhood trauma, trends in child welfare financing, innovative child welfare career training, and more. The full roster can be found HERE (…).

Community Café-style roundtable discussions and strategy sessions also took place among invited members of the child welfare field, Florida Legislators, State University representatives, and other dignitaries who were also in attendance. Strategies and findings from the study of several systemic issues will be wrapped up in a third annual report on the topics of child welfare workforce retention; equity, inclusion, and disproportionality; parents and caregivers with lived experience; youth engagement; and the Family First Prevention Services Act.

Several outstanding members of the FCC were honored in six categories during the 2023 Awards program for exemplary work in measurably improving the lives of Florida children and families. The recipients are as follows:

  • Collective Impact Leadership Award: Karin Flositz, CEO, Community Partnership for Children
  • Nurturing Well-Being Award: Dennis Maneja, COO, St. Augustine Youth Services
  • Parent/Caregiver with Lived Experience Award: Amanda Land, Caregiver Support Licensing Level I Specialist, Heartland for Children
  • Youth/Young Adult Leadership Award: Lucan Phillips, Youth Leader, Safe Children Coalition
  • Innovator of the Year Award: Christopher Rossi, Peer Recovery Specialist Supervisor, Children’s Network of Southwest Florida
  • Champion for Children Award: Larry Rein, President and CEO, ChildNet

FCC President and CEO Kurt Kelly was also honored for his ten-year tenure leading the charge to transform Florida children and families’ lives to a sustainable path of emotional health and well-being.

Liz Oberman – Marketing & Event Director
Florida Coalition for Children