George C. Ruben

George Ruben

Title: Research Professor of Biological Sciences (Retired)
Company: Dartmouth College
Current Location: Ellijay, Georgia, United States

George C. Ruben, PhD, Retired Research Professor of Biological Sciences at Dartmouth College, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership in biological sciences.

Coming from a family of scientists, Dr. Ruben was naturally drawn to chemistry and solving puzzles. His father Sam Ruben’s early research showed that oxygen liberated in photosynthesis came from water, a finding which contributed later to his co-discovery of Carbon-14, the basis of radiocarbon dating.  His mother, Helena West Ruben, worked at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Prof. David Templeton’s X-Ray Crystallography Lab.  Stimulated by this environment, Dr. Ruben became interested in applying chemistry to expand understanding of what makes cells alive.

In 1963, he earned a Bachelor of Science Summa cum Laude in chemistry from the University of California, Davis, and the same year was awarded a Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Fellowship and a National Science Foundation Fellowship.  After attending Harvard University’s graduate program in chemistry 1963-1964, he returned to the University of California, Berkeley to earn his PhD in physical chemistry in 1972, under Nobel prize-winner Melvin Calvin for work on the structure of bacterial photosynthesis in its cytoplasmic membrane.

As a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Applied and Engineering Physics at Cornell University 1973- 1977, Dr. Ruben refined his skills in transmission electron microscopy (TEM) as an investigative tool for solving problems both in biological and materials science.  The techniques he developed using freeze-fracture and freeze-etching combined with vertical platinum/carbon replication resulted in numerous publications illustrating these methods applied to different problems. (1995,1997,1998,1989). Full citations for all publications are available at

Between 1977 and 2001, Dr. Ruben expanded the depth and breadth of his interests at Dartmouth College, in Hanover, NH.  He headed the Electron Microscopy Laboratory at the Dartmouth Medical School from 1977 to 1984 and served as Research Assistant Professor of Pathology 1982-1984.  In 1984, he was appointed Research Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Dartmouth College, and Research Professor from 1994 until his retirement in 2001.

Complementing his academic endeavors, Dr. Ruben’s expertise in TEM led to numerous consulting projects in industry.  These included IBM’s Watson Research Laboratory (1985-86), Philip Morris’s Research Laboratory (1984-1987), Polaroid Corporation (1986), Polymer Technology (1988), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (1990-1994), YTC America (1992-1993), and Dow Corning (1992-1997).

In addition to mentoring undergraduate students at Dartmouth College, Dr. Ruben’s research produced 87 publications in peer-reviewed journals in biological and materials science.  Prominent among those in biological science were multi-year collaborative investigations.  Research on the structure of collagen IV in basement membrane was conducted collaboratively with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (1987, 1988, 1994, 1995). Research on tau protein in helical filaments and in neurofibrillary tangles in Alzheimer’s disease (1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999) was conducted in collaboration with New York State’s Institute for Basic Research in Developmental  Disabilities and supported by multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health (AG05892, AG04220, AG08076, NS18105) and the Alzheimer’s Research Programs of the American Health Assistance Foundation. The latter contributed importantly to redirection of research on Alzheimer’s disease from a focus on amyloid plaques to the role of tau protein.

Dr. Ruben also applied his expertise in TEM to materials science.   In collaboration with the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth, he investigated the nanostructure of ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene transfer films on surfaces used in artificial knee and shoulder joints (1993). He characterized the nanostructure of sol gels for IBM’s Watson Laboratory (1991) and, for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the nanostructure of aerogels made up of melamine-formaldehyde and of condensed silica used as targets for laser fusion experiments (1995, 1992, 1990).

Dr. Ruben served from 2005 to 2015 as Editor-in-Chief of the international journal “Microscopy Research and Technique.”  He also served on the editorial board of “Synapse,” an international Neuroscience Journal, 2008-2015.  Dr. Ruben continues his interest in research worldwide, maintaining professional society memberships and reading relevant journals

Retired now but still seeking challenges, Dr. Ruben enjoys exploring the Appalachian mountain region from his base in north Georgia, indulging his long-held interest in photography, and his more recent hobby, designing jewelry.

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