• Former Gerstner Young Investigator Develops “Sensor Paint” to Diagnose Cancer, Other Illnesses

    A recent collaboration between Dr. Heller (a Gerstner Young Investigator in the 2012-2015 cohort), his team at Memorial Sloan Kettering and artist Joseph Cohen led to the development of a novel approach for detecting microalbuminuria, an early marker for several cancers, diabetes and high blood pressure: “sensor paint.” Dr. Heller’s lab first developed the paints with Mr. Cohen to show people how nanotubes work, but soon discovered their research applications; by incorporating carbon nanotubes into Mr. Cohen’s paints, a much more versatile sensor is created, enabling doctors to reliably detect microalbuminuria in urine samples rather than having to send samples to a specialized lab. The success of Dr. Heller and his team exemplifies the goal of the Gerstner Family Foundation’s young investigator awards: supporting scientists in pursuing innovative research at a crucial early stage in their careers.

  • Dr. Mehmet Erman Karasu Awarded 2019 GSK Chairman’s Prize

    Dr. Karasu, a recent graduate of the Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSK), was recently awarded the 2019 Chairman’s prize for his research on meiosis, the complex cell-division process that gives rise to reproductive cells. The competitive award is presented annually and was established by GSK’s Board of Trustees Chair Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. Dr. Karasu conducted his thesis work in the laboratory of Memorial Sloan Kettering molecular biologist Scott Keeney. Dr. Karasu is now pursuing postdoctoral research at ETH Zurich.

  • Columbia University Releases 2019 Gerstner Scholars Program Report

    Following Columbia's 2019 Gerstner Scholars Program Celebration in June, the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons released a new report on the program, introducing this year's scholars and highlighting the accomplishments of past recipients. Founded in 2008, the Louis V. Gerstner Jr. Scholars Program supports promising physician-scientists in the early stages of their career. To date, 48 young investigators have been named Gerstner Scholars and 5 have received the Gerstner Merit Award. Together, they have amassed over $145 million in additional funding.

    Read the full report
  • Columbia University Announces 2019 Louis V. Gerstner Jr. Scholars
    June 20, 2019

    Columbia University's Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons have selected this year's cohort of Louis V. Gerstner Jr. Scholars. The group includes four physician-scientists at the college and a fifth physician-scientist has been named a 2019 Louis V. Gerstner Jr. Merit Awardee. The Louis V. Gerstner Jr. Scholars Program annually supports tenure-track physicians who conduct research that has the promise to bring new treatments to patients. The fund provides a stipend of $75,000 per year, for up to three years, to support the awardees’ research projects. Scholars are nominated by a committee of distinguished research faculty and selected by the VP&S dean. The program has named scholars every year since 2008. The program also presents the Gerstner Merit Award to an outstanding third-year Louis V. Gerstner Jr. Scholar who has made great strides in research.

  • Gerstner Scholar Led Study Reveals New Insights Into Evolution of Sea Anemones

    A new study published in the journal Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution this month sheds new light on the evolution of the symbiotic relationship between clownfish and sea anemones. The relationship between the anemone and the clownfish is a mutually beneficial one. The anemone protects clownfishes from bigger fishes who, unlike the clownfish, lack the ability to neutralize the anemone's sting. In return, clownfishes will ward away animals that might try to eat the anemone. There are 10 described species of clownfish-hosting anemones, but scientists suspect that the total number may be much higher. And the information on the origin of these species, as well as the number of times the symbiosis evolved in anemones, is sparse and dated. To fill in these gaps, the research team, led by American Museum of Natural History Gerstner Scholar and Lerner Gray Postdoctoral Fellow Benjamin Titus, built a phylogenetic tree based on DNA from newly collected anemone specimens. They found that as a group, anemones independently evolved the ability to host clownfish three times throughout history. "For a symbiosis that's supposedly highly co-evolved, the groups originated in very different parts of the world and probably also at very different times," Titus said.