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Joseph R. Lakowicz Ph.D.

Academic Title: Professor
Primary Appointment: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Location: UMBI
Phone: (410) 706-8409

Personal History:


  • 1973: Ph.D. in Biochemistry, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois
  • 1971: M.S. in Biochemistry, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois
  • 1970: B.A. in Chemistry, Maxima Cum Laude, LaSalle College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 1969: Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Additional mathematics courses, Summer)
  • 1968: Drexel Institute of Technology, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Additional mathematics courses, Summer)

Professional Experience

  • 1984-present: Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Maryland at Baltimore, School of Medicine
  • 1993-present: Adjunct Professor, Electrical Engineering, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  • 1988-present: Director, Center for Fluorescence Spectroscopy, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • 2009-present: Associate Member, Institute of Human Virology
  • 1989-1993: Head, Molecular Graphics Facility, University of Maryland School of Medicine
  • 1980-1984: Associate Professor with tenure, Department of Biological Chemistry, University of Maryland at Baltimore, School of Medicine
  • 1975-1980: Assistant Professor of Biochemistry, Department of Biochemistry and Gray Freshwater Biological Institute, University of Minnesota. Promoted to Associate Professor with tenure, effective July 1980
  • 1974-1975: Research Associate, Department of Biochemistry, University of Minnesota
  • 1973-1974: Postdoctoral Fellow, Oxford University, Department of Biochemistry, Oxford, England, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance

Research Interests:

During my research career I have focused on advancing the theory and practice of fluorescence spectroscopy as applied to the biosciences. These studies have included development of instruments and software, new methods such as light quenching and synthesis of novel fluorescent probes. Light quenching is the phenomenon used in STED super-resolution microscopy.

Starting about 15 years ago it became clear to me that fluorescence was reaching some technological limits where further improvements in sensitivity or resolution would be incremental. At that time we began our studies of the interactions of fluorophores with plasmons on metallic surfaces. We started this work because we saw the opportunity for dramatic changes in fluorescence technology by using the optical properties of metallic nanostructures to modify the temporal properties of fluorophore emission. We refer this phenomenon in a more general way as plasmon-controlled fluorescence. This field has grown dramatically and now numerous labs are involved. We were among the first to use these effects for sub-diffraction limited resolution. Metallic structures have been shown to yield beaming emission. These effects are now being used to increase the extraction efficiency of LED lighting. We are now extending this work to hybrid plasmonic-photonic structures. Our emphasis is on understanding the principles of fluorophore-nanostructures interacts and thereby enable the use of these effects on the biosciences.

Other Professional Activities:

Founding Editor of two peer-reviewed journals, the Journal of Fluorescence and the Journal of Biomedical Optics, and co-founding editor of Plasmonics. I established an edited book series Topics in Fluorescence Spectroscopy. I organized the first sub-meeting of SPIE in 1989 to introduce biological topics to Photonics West, which has now grown in the BIOS Conference of Photonics West. We developed a professional level course on the Principles and Applications of Fluorescence Spectroscopy. This week-long course has been taught over 20 times in the United States and 11 times in Berlin, Germany.


Selected Recent Publications:

Interactions of Fluorophores with Metal Surfaces and Particles

  1. Lakowicz, J. R. (2006). Principles of Fluorescence Spectroscopy, 3rd Edition, Springer, New York, 954 pp. Interactions of Fluorophores with Metal Surfaces and Particles
  2. Choudhury, S. D., Badugu, R., Nowaczyk, N., Ray, K., and Lakowicz, J. R. (2013). Tuning fluorescence direction with plasmonic metal-dielectric-metal substrates, J. Phys. Chem. Letts., 4:227-232.
  3. Szmacinski, H., Badugu, R., Mahdavi, F., Blair, S., and Lakowicz, J. R. (2012). Large fluorescence enhancements of fluorophore ensembles with multilayer plasmonic substrates: Comparison and theory and experimental results, J. Phys. Chem. C., 116:21563-21571.

Fluorescence with Nanoholes and Periodic Nanostructures

  1. Chowdhury, M. H., Catchmnark, and Lakowicz, J. R. (2007). Imaging 3-dimensional light propagation through periodic nanohole arrays using scanning aperture microscopy, Appl. Phys. Letts., 91:103118.
  2. Szmacinski, H., Lakowicz, J. R., Catchmark, J. M., Eid, K., Anderson, J. P., and Middendorf, L. (2008). Correlation between scattering properties of silver particle arrays and fluorescence enhancement, Appl. Spectrosc., 62(7):773-738.

Theoretical Calculations on Fluorophore-Metal Interactions

  1. Chowdhury, M. H., Gray, S. K., Pond, J., Geddes, C., Aslan, K., and Lakowicz, J. R. (2007). Computational study of fluorescence scattering by silver nanoparticles, J. Opt. Soc. Am. B., 24(9):2259-2267.

FCS with Metallic Nanostructures

  1. Sabanayagam, C. R., and Lakowicz, J. R. (2007). Fluctuation correlation spectroscopy and photon histogram analysis of light scattered by gold nanospheres, Nanotechnology 18:1-7.
  2. Ray, K., Zhang, J., and Lakowicz, J. R. (2008). Fluorescence lifetime correlation spectroscopic study of fluorophore-labeled silver nanoparticles, Anal. Chem., 80:7313-7318.
  3. Lakowicz, J. R., Ray, K.,  Chowdhury, M., Szmacinski, H., Fu, Y., Zhang, J., and Nowaczyk, K. (2008). Plasmon-controlled fluorescence: a new paradigm in fluorescence spectroscopy, Analyst 133:1308-1346.
  4. Lakowicz, J. R., Fu, Y., and (2009). Modification of single molecule fluorescence near metallic nanostructures, Laser & Photon. Rev., 3(1-2):221-233.

Fluorescence with Photonic Structures

  1. Badugu, R., Nowaczyk, K., Descrovi, E., and Lakowicz, J. R. (2013). Radiative decay engineering 6: Fluorescence on one-dimensional photonic crystals, Anal. Biochem.,  442:83-96.
  2. Zhang, D., Badugu, R., Chen, Y., Yu, S., Yao, P., Wang, P., Ming, H., and Lakowicz, J. R. (2014). Back focal plane imaging of directional emission from dye molecules coupled to one-dimensional photonic crystals, Nanotechnology, 25:145202-145212.
  3. Badugu, R., Descrovi, E., and Lakowicz, J. R. (2014). Radiative decay engineering 7: Tamm state-coupled emission using a hybrid plasmonic-photonic structure, Anal. Biochem., 445:1-13.

Complete List of Publications: