May 1, 2018 — Returning to Gainesville can be a shock for those who have been away for 35 years. The small town from the 1980s has grown into an emerging city, and the UF College of Medicine campus has changed and expanded dramatically, but for Jeff Ostrove, Ph.D. ’80, strong relationships never change. Ostrove visited the UF College of Medicine this spring to speak to students in the Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences as part of a Career Development Lecture Series.
While a graduate student, Ostrove worked in the laboratory of Kenneth Berns, M.D., Ph.D., distinguished professor emeritus, in the department of immunology and microbiology — now the department of molecular genetics and microbiology. Berns’ lab pioneered the field of genetic discoveries, helping to develop the adeno-associated virus, or AAV, for use as a vector in gene therapy. Berns and other former colleagues and classmates attended Ostrove’s lecture, including Bert Flanegan, Ph.D., as well as UF eminent scholar Nicholas Muzyczka, Ph.D.; Tom Rowe, Ph.D., associate dean for graduate education; and Arun Srivastava, Ph.D., the George H. Kitzman Professor of Genetics.
From creating start-up companies to raising funds from capital investors, Ostrove has enjoyed an exciting career as a visionary leader dedicated to bringing life-changing and innovative therapeutics to patients. He has led three biomedical companies and is currently CEO of GenStem Therapeutics in San Diego, California.
Ostrove fondly recalled his time at UF and his work with “this amazing group of people.” He reminded the students to “work hard, play harder” and shared stories of many weekends scalloping and fishing with his fellow researchers. With all his success, his message to current students was simple:
- Always be transparent
- Take responsibility
- Be resilient — there will always be difficult times, but you will recover and learn from your mistakes
- Love what you do or do something else