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Scott Gerber featured in recent article

Thursday, November 18, 2021

When Scott Gerber was 23 years old, he was a cashier at Dunkin Donuts and admittedly “lost” in a master’s program at the University of Rochester Medical Center. But he took a risk based on an interest in immunology, and signed up for an advanced seminar taught by Edith Lord, a prominent immunologist and former Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Education at URMC. The course was for PhD candidates. Gerber’s peers called him “crazy,” suggesting the material was over his head.

It wasn’t the first time he would ignore naysayers. Gerber stuck with it and Lord saw promise: She snatched him away from the donut shop and hired him to work as a technician in her lab. It set his career in motion.

“‘You’ve got the brains and the drive,’ she told me, ‘you just need lab experience,’‘’ Gerber recalls.

After additional mentoring and investment from the Wilmot Cancer Institute, Gerber, 46, found his footing. He’s amassed millions in funding, most of it from the National Cancer Institute, an impressive amount for a mid-career scientist that includes three RO1 grants.

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