BAR HARBOR – The Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory (MDIBL) announced this week that it has a $1 million gift from an anonymous donor for an endowed fellowship to support its science education programs.
The gift establishes the James Slater Murphy, M.D. Fellowship that will provide funding for outstanding high school, undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral students enrolled in one of MDIBL’s research training programs. Dr. Murphy, who died in 2007 at the age of 85, was a distinguished virologist and a lifelong summer resident of Mount Desert Island.
“We are deeply grateful for this extraordinarily generous gift,” says MDIBL Director Kevin Strange. “We are honored that the fellowship connects the lab’s commitment to the training of a new generation of young scientists with the scientific legacy of the late Dr. Murphy, not only because of his pre-eminence as a physician scientist but because of his lifelong love for Mount Desert Island and the people of Maine.”
Dr. Murphy understood the value of experiential learning. As a teen-ager, he spent several summers working at The Jackson Laboratory as one of the first three high school interns there.
In 1955, Dr. Murphy joined the New York campus of Rockefeller University, where he remained for the rest of his career, becoming a member of the adjunct faculty in 1989 and associate professor emeritus in 1997.
Dr. Murphy’s interest in science was broad-ranging and extended into his summer vacations on MDI, where he began studying lifespans of daphnia and other organisms taken from local ponds.
The first James Slater Murphy M.D. Fellowship Fund awards will be issued on a competitive basis in early 2013. Initial awards will provide funding for high school students seeking to spend the summer working with an established MDIBL scientist.