Prof. David Gruber

David Gruber

Presidential Professor of Biology and Environmental Science

Phone: (646) 660-6236


David Gruber is Presidential Professor of Biology and Environmental Science at Baruch College, City University of New York and serves on the faculty of the Ph.D. Program in Biology at the CUNY Graduate Center and the CUNY Macaulay Honors College. He is also an Explorer for National Geographic, a Research Associate in Invertebrate Zoology at the American Museum of Natural History and an Adjunct Faculty member at the John B. Pierce Laboratory of the Yale School of Medicine.

His interdisciplinary research pertains to marine biology, genomics/transcriptomics of uncharacterized marine organism, deep-sea ecology, photosynthesis, biofluorescence and bioluminescence. He completed a PhD in biological oceanography from the Rutgers University Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences and served as a postdoctoral fellow at the Brown University Division of Biology and Medicine, working to develop fluorescent proteins into modulatable probes with neurobiological and medical applications.

Prof. Gruber’s deep-diving scientific diving teams have discovered scores of unique biofluorescent compounds, several of which have been developed into tools to find better cancer drugs.  A former tropical forester for the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Gruber’s research utilizes Remote Operated Vehicles, extended-range SCUBA and soft robotics (in collaboration with the Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory) to investigate corals, sponges and delicate forms of marine fauna.  Gruber is passionate about utilizing modern technology to view the underwater world from marine creatures’ perspectives.  In this vein, his group developed a “shark-eye” camera to gain a shark’s perspective of their marine environment. He is currently working on sea turtle biology, following his discovery of biofluorescence in the hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata). 

In addition, Prof. Gruber is committed to communicating science to the general public. He serves as a scientific advisor and producer for WNYC Studio 360's "Science and Creativity" series and his writings have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Nature Medicine and The Best American Science Writing. He is the co-author of “Aglow in the Dark: The Revolutionary Science of Biofluorescence” (Harvard University Press). He holds master's degrees in coastal environmental management from Duke University and in journalism from Columbia University.

From 2017-2018, David was a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

The City University of New York