In his hometown of Poughkeepsie, New York, Dattoli developed an interest in pure sciences as a child. He wanted to find a way to apply his interest in science to benefit humanity while studying marine biology at the University of California, Berkeley. He returned to Poughkeepsie, excelled at Vassar College studying biochemistry, and graduated from Mount Sinai School of Medicine (now the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai) in 1984 with a medical doctorate.

Dattoli was passionate about non-surgical cancer treatments during his medical school years. He concentrated his efforts on improving prostate cancer treatment options through brachytherapy, having had success with other types of cancer. More than 30 years ago, Dattoli was lured from Memorial Sloan Cancer Center by Dr. Richard Sorace, who encouraged the young doctor to go to Tampa and co-found a brachytherapy clinic. Dr. Richard Sorace recruited Dattoli from Memorial Sloan Cancer Center over 30 years ago, convincing the young physician to relocate to Tampa and co-found a brachytherapy practice.Dr. Dattoli and Sorace formed a strong partnership to provide prostate cancer patients with non-surgical treatment options. Later, they established the Dattoli Cancer Center in Sarasota, where they continued to practice. Dattoli is board certified in Radiation Oncology by the American College of Radiology and holds medical licenses in Florida, California, and New York.

Michael Dattoli has worked as a principal investigator on a number of cancer and radiation therapy research projects. In the fields of brachytherapy, oncology, radiotherapy, and urology, he has a long list of publications. He has co-authored or contributed to more than 50 scholarly journal articles and peer-reviewed publications, as well as numerous textbooks and booklets on prostate brachytherapy. Dattoli has contributed to over 75 cancer-related publications and has served on editorial review boards for medical journals as a result of his internationally recognized expertise. At the state, national, and international levels, he also presents his research to colleagues at lectures, conferences, and symposia.