Michael Berns

Co-Founder, Beckman Laser Institute & Medical Clinic
Arnold and Mabel Beckman Professor
Chairman and CEO, Beckman Laser Institute non-profit

Dr. Michael Berns is the co-founder with Dr. Arnold O. Beckman of UCI Beckman Laser Institute & Medical Clinic.  He is a Distinguished Professor, and the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Professor, working in the areas of biomedical engineering, developmental & cell biology and surgery.  He oversees the Cellular Biophotonics Laboratory at UCI Beckman Laser Institute & Medical Clinic and was the original principal investigator for the LAser Microbeam & Medical Program (LAMMP) grant (continuously funded since the late-1970s) and the Department of Defense Core grant (continuously funded since 1986). He serves as Director of the new Michael and Roberta Berns LAser Microbeam Program (LAMP) and serves as the Director of the Photonics Incubator, which he established in 1996.

Through his research, Dr. Berns endeavors to solve numerous biomedical problems through the application of lasers and other photonics devices.  His laboratory focuses on how the body’s cells and tissues respond to light at the subcellular, cellular and tissue levels. Current research focuses on studying the mechanism of nervous system repair following injury at the single cell level. The laser is used to create shock waves that produce damage similar to traumatic brain injury and allow the study of how nervous system cells repair after shockwave damage. This research extends to degenerative diseases of the nervous system, such as Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease and Huntington’s Disease.

Dr. Berns has received numerous awards and honors, including the UCI Medal and being recognized at UCI’s Lauds & Laurels for Professional Achievement.  He has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), the American Institute of Biomedical Engineering, and the American Society for Lasers in Medical Sciences, the latter organization bestowing upon him the William B. Mark Award.  The Vascular Birthmark Foundation named its most prestigious award for Dr. Berns, the Dr. Michael W. Berns Achievement Award, for outstanding research contributions. Internationally, Dr. Berns has been elected Foreign Member of the Royal Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (UK).

He is named on 11 patents and was involved with more than $63 million in extramural grants and $40 million in philanthropic support during his directorship of UCI Beckman Laser Institute & Medical Clinic.  Currently, Dr. Berns is leading two research grants funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research: RoboLase and the Advanced Optical Technologies for Defense Trauma and Critical Care.

As the co-founder of UCI Beckman Laser Institute & Medical Clinic  with primary benefactor Dr. Arnold O. Beckman, Dr. Berns’ imprint on the Institute is indelible.  Please see UCI Beckman Laser Institute & Medical Clinic’s history for more depth on the Institute’s progress.

Research Interests
+ Laser tissue interactions
+ Laser microbeam studies on cell structure/function
+ Photonics-based biomedical instrumentation
+ Ophthalmology
+ Oncology
+ Fertility

  • Education

    B.S., Biology, Cornell University, 1964
    M.S., Biology, Cornell University, 1966
    Ph.D., Biology, Cornell University, 1968

  • Email

    mwberns@uci.edu

  • Phone

    (949) 824-6291