Gerstner Philanthropies focuses on biomedical research, educational opportunities, and assistance for people who have suffered a temporary setback and could use a “helping hand” to restore their equilibrium.

Our Biomedical Research funding falls into two categories:

  • Supporting important genomic research that could lead to breakthroughs in clinical practice
  • Enabling talented young scientists to pursue a career in research

Our Education work supports students who have talent and determination but whose opportunity to excel is limited because of their economic circumstances.

Our Helping Hands program provides assistance for people experiencing an unforeseen emergency through one-time cash grants.

In addition, we make a small number of grants related to or outside of these areas of focus.

News


  • Four VP&S Physicians Named 2022 Gerstner Scholars

    Four physician-scientists were recently named 2022 Gerstner Scholars: Rebecca Muhle, MD, PhD; Jennifer Small-Saunders, MD, PhD; Neil Vasan, MD, PhD; and Peter Yim, MD. The program also awarded the Gerstner Merit Award to 2019 Scholar Amélie Collins, MD, PhD. The Gerstner Merit Award, created in 2014, provides an additional year of funding and recognizes an exceptional third-year Gerstner Scholar who conducts innovative research, has shown significant growth as an academic medicine investigator, and is ideally positioned to secure a significant principal investigator award.he Louis V. Gerstner Jr. Scholars Program provides exceptional physician-scientists at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (VP&S) with vital funding. Each scholar receives a stipend of $75,000 per year for three years for salary or laboratory support. The support allows early-career scientists to conduct pioneering research and gather the pilot data necessary to apply for grants from the National Institutes of Health and other sources. The Gerstner Scholars Program, established in 2008 by Louis V. Gerstner Jr. and the Gerstner Family Foundation, helps make VP&S a major engine of medical innovation.

    Read more about the 2022 Scholars at columbia.edu
  • Gerstner Center for Cancer Diagnostics Researchers Develop New Approach called MAESTRO to advance Cancer Detection

    A team led by researchers at Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Harvard Medical School has developed a new method to identify thousands of DNA mutations accurately and efficiently in a patient's blood sample with minimal sequencing. The approach, called MAESTRO, could one day enable the detection of residual cancer in patients who have undergone treatment, alerting doctors to disease recurrence earlier and more cheaply than current techniques allow. MAESTRO works to identify Minimal Residual Disease (MRD) markers in the blood using less sequencing than more conventional approaches, enabling researchers to detect cancer mutations more quickly, efficiently and at a low cost. “This project has been a great reminder that new methods can make DNA sequencing even more powerful,” added Golub. “It will be exciting to see how MAESTRO can impact basic discovery and, in the future, clinical care.”

    Read more at broadinstitute.org
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Reflections on Helping Hands


Lou Gerstner shares the origin of and his vision for the emergency grants program, lessons learned over the past decade, and his belief in the critical importance of the work.

Watch the video