Laboratory for Fluorescence Dynamics

A national research center for biomedical fluorescence spectroscopy at the University of California, Irvine

Photo of Gregorio Weber 1995

Tribute to Gregorio Weber

In tribute to the outstanding contributions of Gregorio Weber (1916-1997) to the field of fluorescence, the Laboratory for Fluorescence Dynamics (LFD) organizes and sponsors the

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Gregorio Weber, 1916-1997: A Fluorescent Lifetime

Excerpt from the article published by David M. Jameson in Biophysical Journal 75(1), 419-421, 1998.

"Early on the morning of July 18, 1997, at home and surrounded by family and friends, Gregorio Weber died of leukemia at the age of 81. His death ended a remarkable scientific career, which began in Buenos Aires, took form in England at Cambridge and Sheffield, and flourished at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Gregorio Weber's research career, spanning more than half a century, was characterized by an unbroken chain of highly original and important contributions to fluorescence spectroscopy and protein chemistry. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1916, Weber completed his M.D. degree at the University of Buenos Aires in 1942. While attending medical school, he worked as a teaching assistant for Bernardo Houssay, who was to receive the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine in 1947. Houssay nominated Gregorio Weber for a British Council Fellowship, which would support his graduate studies at Cambridge University. Travel to England during the war years was an adventure, and his voyage took 44 days in a convoy that enduredoccasional U-boat attacks. At Cambridge, Malcolm Dixon, the well-known enzymologist, became his thesis advisor and suggested that the young Argentinean investigate the fluorescence of flavins and flavoproteins. Weber soon learned that, during the 1920s and 1930s, fluorescence had already greatly impressed the physicists and to some extent the biologists, but had not drawn much attention from the chemists. For example, a fellow Argentinean, the physicist Gaviola, had already constructed a phase fluorometer in the 1920s and had measured the excited state lifetime of fluorescein with good precision. Weber soon came upon the writings of Francis Perrin (the son of Jean Perrin, who had worked on the translational diffusion of macroscopic particles), on the depolarization of fluorescence by Brownian rotation and on energy transfer. Perrin's beautifully crafted theories and clarity of thought and expression inspired Weber to apply these methods to biochemistry."

Read more on the Gregorio Weber Homepage, maintained by David M Jameson.