Enrico Gratton

Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Professor, Physics and Astronomy
Professor, Surgery

Dr. Erico Gratton is a UCI professor of surgery, biomedical engineering and physics and astronomy. He is also the principal investigator for the Laboratory for Flourescence Dynamics, a national facility dedicated to fluorescence spectroscopy funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

In the areas of biology and biophysics, Dr. Gratton utilizes his knowledge of the latest techniques in fluorescence spectroscopy and microscopy to image live cells. His research team use flourescence to study cellular processes including protein aggregation, membrane interactions, and migration of cells to track moving particles and to analyze collagen formation and deformation.  This research leads to a better understanding of cell function, potentially applied to diagnosing and identifying treatment for many human diseases, including Huntington’s disease, kidney disorders and cancers.

Dr. Gratton and his engineering group are involved in a collaboration with investigators at UCI Beckman Laser Institute & Medical Clinic who are employing non-invasive, safe, near-infrared optical technology in the study of breast cancer and the effectiveness of chemotherapy in younger women.  The scanner that they developed is currently in Phase 2 clinical trials and works by measuring molecular and functional changes in the breast that are indicators of cancer.  Additionally, Dr. Gratton’s lab has developed a novel procedure for the analysis of the spectroscopic signature in breast cancer.  This study has lead to the discovery of specific spectroscopic markers for breast tumors.  These markers appear to be different for benign and malignant tumors, opening new perspective for effective optical biopsy.

Dr. Gratton is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a member of Academia Nacional de Ciencias and an editorial board member of “Methods and Applications in Fluorescence Journal.”  He is named on 26 U.S. and international patents. Dr. Gratton received the Senior-Career Excellence Award from the UCI Henry Samueli School of Engineering. He was also a consultant to biomedical companies, such as Abbott and Allergan.

Dr. Gratton earned his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Rome, Italy.

Research Interests
+ Medical Physics
+ Fast relaxation in enzymes
+ Fluorescence properties
+ Hydration of proteins
+ IR spectroscopy of biological substances
+ Nucleic acids-fluorescent probe interactions
+ Protein Aggregation Membrane interactions
+ Migration of cells
+ Tracking moving particles
+ Analyzing collagen formation and deformation
+ Noninvasive optical technology methods for studying breast cancer