Professor of Public Health and Microbiology at Columbia University Medical Center
I was born in New Orleans and grew up in California before moving to the New York area, where I now live and work. I have a Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Notre Dame. For 28 years, I conducted laboratory-based biomedical research at Columbia University. I am Emeritus Professor at Columbia University and Adjunct Professor at Fordham University. I have always been interested in ecological process and the damage we have caused to the environment by encroachment (mostly to make room for farmland). At present, I am engaged in a project whose mission is to produce significant amounts of food crops in tall buildings situated in densely populated urban centers (see: [www.verticalfarm.com](http://www.verticalfarm.com) and The Vertical Farm: feeding the world in the 21st century, hardcover, Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, New York; soft cover, Picadore Press, October, 2011). To date, there are vertical farms up and running in Japan, Korea, Singapore, U.S.A. (Washington, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, New York, Newark), with many more in various stages of planning (Jackson, Wyoming; Memphis, Tenn.; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Linköping, Sweden). I believe that vertical farming will become commonplace throughout the built environment on a global scale within the next 5-10 years. I was selected Teacher of the Year 8 times at Columbia University Medical School, and in 2003, I won the national American Medical Student Golden Apple Award for Teaching Excellence. I have authored five books, written over 70 peer-reviewed scientific papers, and numerous published review articles on a wide variety of scientific subjects. I have lectured on the concept of vertical farming at universities (MIT, Harvard, NYU, Cornell, Rochester Institute of Technology, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Temple University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Rutgers, Brigham Young University, The Singularity University), The American Museum of Natural History, The Chicago Museum of Science and Technology, to city governments (Seattle; Chicago; New York; Newark, NJ; Jersey City, NJ; Los Angeles; Seoul, Korea; Amman, Jordan; Beijing, Shanghai, China; Singapore; Bangalore, Madras, and Coimbatore, India), Australia, Austria, Germany, The Netherlands, The United Nations (three times), International Monetary Fund, NASDAQ, The World Bank, and Credit Suisse Bank, and federal government agencies, including, USDA and USAID. I have presented at TED and TEDx (8 times), PINC 10 and PINC Sarasota, Fl., PopTech, Ars Electronica, IdeaCity, 21 Minutes of Knowledge, Big Ideas, Big Think (twice), The Colbert Report, Pecha Kucha, The Feast, Omega Institute, Monterey Design Conference, World Science Festival (3 times), Edinburgh International Science Festival, Manchester International Festival, Seoul Digital Forum (twice), Short Course in Indoor Agriculture, University of Arizona, the NYC AIA, Chicago AIA, Design Futures Council, Austrian Innovation Forum, and Indian Institute for Architecture annual meeting (twice), Equilibrium. I have been featured in Time Magazine, Wired Magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Bloomberg Businessweek Report, Fast Company, Tree Hugger, The Economist, The Guardian, and numerous radio, TV, and newspaper interviews (e.g., U.S.A., Canada, France, Holland, China, India, Spain, Germany, U.K.). I live with my wife, Marlene, in Fort Lee, New Jersey.