David Gruber is Professor of Biology at City University of New York, Baruch College & The CUNY Graduate Center; Emerging Explorer at the National Geographic Society and 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. He and his collaborators have discovered scores of novel fluorescent compounds from marine animals. Several of these compounds have been deployed as tools to study cancer drugs and to understand the brain. David was recently awarded the National Geographic Innovation Challenge grant with Harvard roboticist Rob Wood to develop new “soft” and “delicate” deep sea sampling tools, a project that the National Science Foundation is now funding to develop “squishy robot arms.” He developed a “Shark-Eye” camera to gain a shark’s perspective of their marine environment.
On the Falkor, he will be working with Erik Cordes to explore the depth range of biofluorescence on mesophotic reef corals and sharks; and with Daniel Vogt of the Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory to test and utilize soft robots that can delicately interact and examine deep sea marine life of the Phoenix Islands.