Enrico Gratton, professor of biomedical engineering, here with Michelle Digman, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, founded UCI's Laboratory for Fluorescence Dynamics. Debbie Morales / UCI Samueli School of Engineering

UCI’s Laboratory for Fluorescence Dynamics has received a five-year, $7.2 million operating grant from the National Institutes of Health, marking 30 years of NIH funding for the lab. The LFD is a state-of-the-art facility that allows researchers to use fluorescence with advanced imaging technologies (microscopy and spectroscopy) to view live cells and study cellular processes. This can lead to a better understanding of cell function, with potential applications in diagnosing and identifying treatments for many human diseases, including Huntington’s, kidney disorders and cancers. The NIH grant will help the LFD continue its work creating new imaging technologies and techniques in fluorescence as well as support the dissemination of the latest advances in the field. Biomedical engineer and principal investigator Enrico Gratton says the LFD has pioneered microscopy methods to detect molecular aggregates and the movements of single protein molecules in live cells and tissue samples. “It is one of the unique technologies developed at the LFD and now used in many laboratories around the world,” he said. A special symposium, “Frontiers in Biological Fluorescence,” will take place Sept. 30 at the Arnold & Mabel Beckman Center of the National Academies of Sciences & Engineering to celebrate the LFD’s 30th anniversary and the 70th birthday of its founder, Gratton.