Professor Berns Honored With Lifetime Achievement Award

The Henry Samueli School of Engineering at UC Irvine is pleased to announce that Michael W. Berns, the Arnold and Mabel Beckman professor of biomedical engineering, developmental and cell biology, and surgery, and co-founder (with Arnold O. Beckman, 1900-2004) of the Beckman Laser Institute at UCI, was awarded the 2006 Biomedical Optics Lifetime Achievement award at SPIE’s International Symposium on Biomedical Optics (BiOS).

Dr. Berns was honored “for his contributions to the development and growth of laser microbeam technology, a major step towards establishing new tools for understanding laser interactions with biological tissues, which have resulted in significant improvements in diagnosis and treatment of disease.” 

Conference presenter, Dr. R. Rox Anderson, director of the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Harvard University, remarked that Dr. Berns is generally considered the "father of laser microbeams," having started his work as early as 1969 with publication of a seminal paper in Nature magazine describing how the laser can be used to perform subcellular surgery on chromosomes. Over the past 35 years, Dr. Berns has published more than 400 articles and written and/or edited six books that have been translated into several languages, including Chinese, Japanese, and Serbo-Croatian.

Dr. Berns joined the UCI faculty of in Department of Developmental and Cell Biology in 1972 where he first served as departmental vice-chair as well as department chair.  In 1994, he received the UCI medal, the highest honor awarded at the University of California campus. In addition to being the co-founder of the Beckman Laser Institute, he was the founding director of the Center for Biomedical Engineering at UCI which eventually became the Department of Biomedical Engineering. 

Dr. Berns was recently recognized as being in the top 5 percent nationally of National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded scientists for total funds received over the past 25 years, as well as in the top 20 percent nationally for patents awarded to medical school faculty who have been funded by the NIH’s National Cancer Institute.

Following presentation of the lifetime achievement award, Dr. Berns presented a lecture entitled, "Laser Scissors and Tweezers in Space and Time," a summary of the past, present and future research of his students and collaborators.

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