October 5, 2009

Onward and Upward from the Deep

Assistant Professor of Biology and Environmental Science at CUNY, Baruch College and Reseach Associate, American Museum of Natural History

After his most recent explorations of the deep reef, in the Red Sea and Caribbean, Baruch College’s David Gruber returned to New York to some good news about the fruits of his labors over the past few years. On Oct. 1, Nature published new findings about fluorescent proteins by Dave and his colleagues. The prestigious journal highlighted the ongoing work for its advancement of the understanding of how these proteins have evolved and how they function. Meanwhile, Dave has gained national recognition for the promise his work holds for practical, and perhaps profitable, medical applications.

Gruber is among 13 young researchers in the country named to the first class of Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation fellows. The Kansas City-based foundation started the post-doctoral program to promote scientific discovery as an engine of the U.S. economy. There are 48,000 post-docs in the country, says the Kauffman Foundation, but few of them have the knowledge or wherewithal to take their discoveries from the lab to the market. Gruber actually finished his post-doc (at Brown University) in 2008, but the foundation decided his work was extraordinary and he was close enough. He and the other Kauffman Fellows were chosen because their work “has enormous potential to benefit society”–Dave’s could have various biomedical and drug applications–and they are seen as promising “scientist-founders” who can be both successful academics and dynamic entrepreneurs.

More about the Kauffman Fellowships: