David Gruber is a professor of biology and environmental sciences at Baruch College and the Graduate Center, CUNY. He is also a research associate in invertebrate zoology at the American Museum of Natural History. His research pertains to marine biology, photosynthesis genomics, and biofluorescence/bioluminescence on coral reefs. Most recently, he is utilizing next-generation genomic sequencing, novel soft robotics, and low-light imaging platforms to investigate deep marine life in the most noninvasive means possible.
At Radcliffe, Gruber is undertaking a book-length project on the history of jellyfish and other gelatinous marine life. He is also working with the Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory to develop soft robotic devices for undersea exploration and research.
Gruber completed a PhD in biological oceanography from Rutgers University. He also holds a master’s of environment management from Duke University and an MS in journalism from Columbia University. In 2014, he was named a National Geographic Society Emerging Explorer. He and his collaborators have discovered novel fluorescent compounds from marine animals, several of which have been deployed to study cancer drugs and to understand the brain. In 2015, Gruber and the Harvard roboticist Robert J. Wood were awarded a National Geographic Innovation Challenge Grant to develop soft robotics for deep-sea sampling, a project now funded by the National Science Foundation. Gruber is committed to communicating science to the general public, and his writings have appeared in Nature Medicine, the New Yorker, the New York Times, and the anthology The Best American Science Writing 2007 (Harper Perennial, 2007).