Berns Awarded International Society for Optics and Photonics Gold Medal

Michael Berns, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of biomedical engineering, has been awarded the 2022 International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE) Gold Medal.

Jan. 11, 2022 Michael Berns, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of biomedical engineering, has been awarded the 2022 SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, Gold Medal.

The society’s highest honor, the SPIE Gold Medal has been awarded since 1977 to recognize outstanding engineering or scientific accomplishments in optics, photonics, electrooptics, or imaging technologies or applications. Recipients are honored for making an exceptional contribution to the advancement of relevant technology. Service to the society may also be considered for the award, which carries an honorarium of $10,000.

The SPIE Awards Committee recognized Berns’ “distinguished career that has brought together engineers, physicists, biologists and physicians to collaborate on groundbreaking discoveries and innovations.” The committee added that his work enabling microscopic manipulation of cells has been “seminal in the development of diagnostics and treatments of medical problems.”

Berns, who has a joint appointment in developmental and cell biology, is cofounder and founding director of the UCI Beckman Laser Institute & Medical Clinic, which focuses on the use of light and lasers as applied to biology and disease.

His research has included application of lasers and associated optical technologies in biology, medicine and biomedical engineering, including laser tissue interactions; laser microbeam studies on cell structure and function; development of photonics-based biomedical instrumentation; and clinical research in oncology, fertility and ophthalmology.

Berns is a fellow of SPIE, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and most recently the Royal Society of Medicine in the United Kingdom. In 1994, Berns received the UCI Medal, the SPIE Biomedical Optics Lifetime Achievement award in 2006, and the Samueli School’s Fariborz Maseeh Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award in 2011.

The SPIE Award Committee noted that Berns has “contributed to a body of work that has informed generations of researchers working in the field of biophotonics and these results will continue to inform others into the future.”

– Tonya Becerra