Skip to Main Content

Leah Tolosa

My primary research interest is low-cost, user-friendly devices as solutions to real world problems. I thrive in a multidisciplinary group creating methods, products, or devices for biomedical, biotechnological or environmental applications.
Title: Assistant Director & Research Associate Professor, Center for Advanced Sensor Technology

Education and Training

  • Postdoctoral Research – Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, 1996
  • Ph.D. Chemistry – University of Connecticut, Storrs, 1995
  • M.Sc. Chemistry – University of Santo Tomas, Manila, Philippines, 1987
  • B.Sc. Chemistry – University of Santo Tomas, Manila, Philippines, 1980


  • Research Professor, University of Maryland Baltimore County, 2012 – present
  • Research Associate Professor, University of Maryland Baltimore County, 2006 –2011
  • Assistant Director, UMBC Center for Advanced Sensor Technology, 2004 – present
  • Research Assistant Professor, University of Maryland Baltimore County, 2001 – 2006
  • Research Associate, University of Maryland Baltimore, 1996 – 2001
  • Teaching/Research Asst., University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, 1988 – 1994
  • Chemistry Instructor, University of Santo Tomas, Manila, 1980 – 1987

Research Projects and Interests

Relevant Experience

  • Principal investigator in projects involving the development of optical assays and sensing methodologies for biomedical and bioprocessing applications
  • Successfully received close to $3M in grant funding (as PI) from the NIH, Department of Defense and the State of Maryland in the last 20 years
  • Serves as liaison between engineers, chemists, biologists and clinicians in interface research and multi-disciplinary endeavors and serves as project leader in many of these projects;
  • Highly skilled in writing proposals to various funding agencies
  • Hands-on experience and expertise in analytical, spectroscopic and bioprocess techniques;
  • Serves as mentor to undergraduate, graduate, post-doctoral and early career researchers;
  • Participates at least once a year in peer review panels for the DOD, the NIH and the NSF;
  • More than 70 publications in journals and books, patents, patent applications and disclosures.


  • American Chemical Society 1991 – present
  • Philippine-American Academy of Science and Engineering, President 2008, Member, Board of Directors 2006 – 2008, 2012 – 2014, 2014 – 2017, Chair, Membership Committee
  • NIDDK Network of Minority Research Investigators, Member, Oversight Committee 2007 – 2010


  • 2016, Most Number of Original Ideas, Office of Technology Transfer, University of Maryland Baltimore County.
  • 2010 – 2012: Principal Investigator, Collaborative Project with the Institute of Chemistry, University of the Philippines, NIH – Fogarty International Research Collaborative Award Program (R03TW008213).
  • 2008, October 1 – 31: Balik-Scientist (Returning Scientist) Program, Department of Science and Technology, Republic of the Philippines.
  • 2003 – 2006: Principal Investigator, Mentored Quantitative Research Career Development Award (K25DK062990) from the National Institutes of Health


  • Rao G., Kostov Y., Tolosa L., Ge X., Frey D. (May 29, 2018) System and method for production of on-demand proteins in a portable unit for point of care delivery, Patent No. 9982227
  • Rao G, Kostov Y, Tolosa L, Tran K, Pilli M, Tolosa M, Gurramkonda C (August 10, 2017) Microscale bioprocessing system and method for protein manufacturing from human blood, Publication No.: 20170226467
  • Rao G, Kostov Y, Ge X, Tolosa L, Woo H, Viscardi R (January 10, 2017) Noninvasive Analyte Sensing System and Method, US Patent 9538944
  • Tolosa L, Lam H, Kostov Y, Falk S M, Rao G (February 7, 2017) Luminescence based noninvasive remote parameter sensor and sensing method, Patent No.: 9560974
  • Rao G, Kostov Y, Tolosa L, Hung L, Ge X, Frey D, Singh V (July 12, 2016) Microscale bioprocessing system and method for protein manufacturing, Patent No.: 9388373
  • Rao G, Lam H, Kostov Y, Tolosa L, Ge X (March 31, 2015) Fluorescence based sensors utilizing a mirrored cavity, US Patent No. 8993972.
  • Rao, G., Tolosa L, Kostov Y (October 7, 2014) Noninvasive Sensing of Bioprocess Parameters, Patent No. 8,852,921 B2.
  • Rao G, Lam H, Kostov Y, Tolosa L, Ge X (February 18, 2014) Chlorophyll and Turbidity Sensor System, US Patent No. 8,654,391 B2
  • Lakowicz, J. R., Tolosa, L., Eichhorn, L., Rao, G. (January 4, 2011) Method of glucose/galactose detection with glucose/galactose binding protein, Canadian Patent 2,336,985.
  • Tolosa, L., Ge, X., Rao, G. (May 18, 2010) Proteins, Sensors, and Methods of Characterizing Analytes Using the Same, Patent No. US 7,718,353.
  • Lakowicz, J. R., Tolosa, L., Eichhorn, L., Rao, G. (March 6, 2001) Engineered Proteins for Analyte Sensing, Patent No. US 6, 179,534 B1.
  • Tolosa, G. Rao, I. Kostov, X. Ge (patent pending) Multianalyte Optical Sensing System Using Novel Proteins as Biosensing Elements.
  • Tolosa, H. Lam, Y. Kostov, G. Rao (patent application) Fluorophore Based Temperature Sensor
  • Rao, I. Kostov, L. Tolosa, H. Lam, X. Ge (patent application) Microscale Bioprocessing System and Method of Manufacturing.

Selected publications

  • Andar A, Hasan M-S, Srinivasan, Al-Adhami M, Gutierrez E, Burgenson D, Ge X, Tolosa L, Kostov Y, and Rao G (2019) Wood Microfluidics, Anal Chem, DOI:10.1021/acs.analchem.9b01232
  • Andar AU, Deldari S, Gutierrez E, Burgenson D, Al-Adhami M, Gurramkonda C, Tolosa L, Kostov Y, Frey DD, Rao G. (2019) Low-cost customizable microscale toolkit for rapid screening and purification of therapeutic proteins. Biotechnol Bioeng. 116, 870 – 881.
  • Brown S, Zambrana PN, Ge X, Bagdure D, Stinchcomb AL, Rao G, Tolosa L. (2018) Minimally invasive technique for measuring transdermal glucose with a fluorescent biosensor. Anal Bioanal Chem. 410(27):7249-7260.
  • Adiga, R, et al (2018) Point-of-care production of therapeutic proteins of good-manufacturing-practice quality, Nature Biomed Engg.
  • Burgenson D, Gurramkonda C, Pilli M, Ge X, Andar A, Kostov Y, Tolosa L, Rao G. (2018)Rapid recombinant protein expression in cell-free extracts from human blood. Nature Sci Rep. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-27846-8.
  • Ge X, Adangwa P, Lim JY, Kostov Y, Tolosa L, Pierson R, Herr D, Rao G. (2018) Development and characterization of a point-of care rate-based transcutaneous respiratory status monitor. Med Eng Phys. Apr 5. pii: S1350-4533(18)30051-1. doi: 10.1016/j.medengphy.2018.03.009.
  • Gurramkonda C, Rao A, Borhani S, Pilli M, Deldari S, Ge X, Pezeshk N, Han TC, Tolosa M, Kostov Y, Tolosa L, Wood DW, Vattem K, Frey DD, Rao G. (2018) Improving the recombinant human erythropoietin glycosylation using microsome supplementation in CHO cell-free system. Biotechnol Bioeng. 115(5):1253-1264.
  • Tran K, Gurramkonda C, Cooper MA, Pilli M, Taris JE, Selock N, Han TC, Tolosa M, Zuber A, Peñalber-Johnstone C, Dinkins C, Pezeshk N, Kostov Y, Frey DD, Tolosa L, Wood DW, Rao G. (2018) Cell-free production of a therapeutic protein: Expression, purification, and characterization of recombinant streptokinase using a CHO lysate. Biotechnol Bioeng. 115(1):92-102.
  • Peñalber-Johnstone C, Ge X, Tran K, Selock N, Sardesai N, Gurramkonda C, Pilli M, Tolosa M, Tolosa L, Kostov Y, Frey DD, Rao G. (2017) Optimizing cell-free protein expression in CHO: Assessing small molecule mass transfer effects in various reactor configurations. Biotechnol Bioeng.114(7):1478-1486
  • Tiangco C, Andar, A, Quarterman J, Ge X, Sevilla F, Rao G, Stinchcomb A, Bunge A, Tolosa L (2017) Measuring transdermal glucose levels in neonates by passive diffusion: an in vitro porcine skin model, Anal Bional Chem, 409, 3475 – 3482.
  • Tiangco C, Fon D, Sardesai N, Kostov Y, Sevilla F, Rao G, Tolosa L (2017) Fiber optic biosensor for transdermal glucose based on the glucose binding protein, Sensor and Actuators B: Chemical 242, 569-570.
  • Tiangco C, Brown S, Sevilla F, Rao G, Tolosa L (2016) Fluorophore-labeled bioengineered glucose binding protein for measurement of transdermal glucose, Acta Manilana 64, 25 -32.
  • El-Sayed MM, Brown SR, Mupparapu K, Tolosa L. (2016) “The effect of pH on the glucose response of the glucose-galactose binding protein L255C labeled with Acrylodan” Int J Biol Macromol, 86:282-287.
  • Chatterjee M1, Ge X, Kostov Y, Lu P, Tolosa L, Woo H, Viscardi R, Falk S, Potts R, Rao G. (2015) “A rate-based transcutaneous CO2 sensor for noninvasive respiration monitoring” Physiol Meas., 36(5):883-94.
  • Kanjananimmanont S, Ge X, Mupparapu K, Rao G, Potts R, Tolosa L. (2014) “Passive Diffusion of Transdermal Glucose: Noninvasive Glucose Sensing Using a Fluorescent Glucose Binding Protein.” J Diabetes Sci Technol. 8(2):291-298.
  • Tran K, Gibson A, Wong D, Tilahun D, Selock N, Good T, Ram G, Tolosa L, Tolosa M, Kostov Y, Woo HC, Frizzell M, Fulda V, Gopinath R, Prasad JS, Sudarshan H, Venkatesan A, Kumar VS, Shylaja N, Rao G. (2014) “Designing a Low-Cost Multifunctional Infant Incubator” J Lab Autom. 19(3):332-337.
  • Kostov Y, Ge X, Rao G, Tolosa L. (2014) “Portable system for the detection of micromolar concentrations of glucose.” Meas Sci Technol. 25(2):025701.
  • Woo HC, Tolosa L, El-Metwally D, Viscardi RM. (2014) “Glucose monitoring in neonates: need for accurate and non-invasive methods.” Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 99(2):F153-7
  • Chatterjee M, Ge X, Kostov Y, Tolosa L, Rao G. (2014) “A novel approach toward noninvasive monitoring of transcutaneous CO2.” Med Eng Phys. 36(1):136-9.
  • Ge X, Rao G, Kostov Y, Kanjananimmanont S, Viscardi RM, Woo H, Tolosa L. (2013) “Detection of trace glucose on the surface of a semipermeable membrane using a fluorescently labeled glucose-binding protein: a promising approach to noninvasive glucose monitoring” Diabetes Sci Technol. 7(1):4-12.
  • Lam H, Y Kostov, Tolosa L, S Falk, Rao G (2012) “High Resolution Non-contact Fluorescence Based Temperature Sensor for Neonatal Care”, Meas Sci Technol. 23(3):
  • Lam H, Rao G, Tolosa L (2011) “Dual optical sensor for oxygen and temperature based on the combination of time domain and frequency domain techniques”, Talanta, 84, 67-70.
  • Lam H, Tolosa L (corresponding author), Rao G (2010) “Optical Temperature Probe Based on the Fluorescence Decay Time of Tris-(dibenzoylmethane) Mono (5-amino-1,10-phenanthroline)-europium(III)”, Sensors & Transducers Journal, 119( 8), 14-21.
  • Lam H, Kostov Y, Rao G and Tolosa L (2009) “A Luminescence Lifetime Assisted Ratiometric Fluorimeter for Biological Applications”, Sci. Instruments, 80, 124302.
  • Badugu, R, Kostov, Y, Rao, G, Tolosa, L, (2008) “Development and Application of an Excitation Ratiometric Optical pH Sensor for Bioprocess Monitoring”, Prog. 24(6), 1393 – 1401.
  • Lam, H., Rao G., Tolosa, L (2008) Low-Cost Optical Lifetime Assisted Ratiometric Glutamine Sensor Based on Glutamine Binding Protein, Biochem. 383, 61–67.
  • Ge, X., Rao G., Tolosa, L (2008) On the possibility of real-time monitoring of glucose in cell culture by microdialysis using a fluorescent glucose binding protein (GBP) sensor, Biotechnology Progress 24, 691 – 697.
  • Ge X., Lam H. T, Swati, M. J., LaCourse W. R., Rao G. and Tolosa L (2007) Comparing the Performance of the Optical Glucose Assay Based on the Glucose Binding Protein with High Performance Anion-exchange Chromatography with Pulsed Electrochemical Detection: Efforts to Design a Low-Cost Point-of-Care Glucose Sensor, J. Diabetes Science and Technology, 1(6) 864 – 872.
  • Tolosa, L., Harrison, R., Rao, G. (2007) Design of Optical Protein-Based Biosensors, Proceedings of AsiaSense 2007 – The Third Asian Conference on Sensors, New Domains in Chemical, Biological and Physical Sensing, p. 61 – 64.
  • Bartolome, A., Smalls-Mantey, L., Lin, D., Rao, G., Tolosa, L. (2006) “FRET-based glucose monitoring for bioprocessing”, Genetically Engineered Probes for Biomedical Applications, of SPIE, 6098, 60980L-1 – 8.
  • Kostov, Y., Smith, D. S., Tolosa, L., Rao, G., Gryczynski, I., Gryczynski, Z., Malicka, J., Lakowicz, J. R. (2005) Directional Surface Plasmon-Coupled Emission from a 3 nm Green Fluorescent Protein Monolayer, Prog., 21, 1731-1735.
  • Bartolome, A., Bardliving, C., Rao, G., Tolosa, L. (2005) Fatty acid sensor for low-cost lifetime-assisted ratiometric sensing using a fluorescent fatty acid binding protein, Biochem., 345, 133-139.
  • Ge, X., Tolosa, L. (corresponding author), Rao, G. (2004) Dual-labeled glucose binding protein for ratiometric measurements of glucose, Chem., 76, 1403-1410.
  • Ge, X., Tolosa, L., Simpson, J., Rao, G. (2003) Genetically-engineered binding proteins as biosensors for fermentation and cell culture, Bioeng., 84, 723-731.
  • Tolosa, L., Ge, X., Kostov, Y., Lakowicz, J. R., Rao, G. (2003) Dual-emitting biosensors for glucose and glutamine from genetically engineered E. coli binding proteins, SPIE Genetically Engineered and Optical Probes for Biomedical Applications, 4967, 19-25.
  • Kostov, Y., Tolosa, L., O’Connell, K., Anderson, P., Liu, Y., van Beek, N., Rao, G. (2003), Monitoring DsRed protein concentration in frozen insect larvae, SPIE Genetically Engineered and Optical Probes for Biomedical Applications, 4967, 100-107.
  • Tolosa, L., Ge, X., Rao, G., (2003) Reagentless optical sensing of glutamine using a dual-emitting glutamine-binding protein, Biochem., 314, 199-205.
  • Tolosa, L., Kostov, Y., Harms, P., Rao, G. (2002) Non-invasive measurement of dissolved oxygen in shake flasks, Bioeng., 80, 594-597.
  • Murtaza, Z., Tolosa, L., Harms, P. and Lakowicz, J. R. (2002) On the Possibility of Glucose Sensing Using Boronic Acid and Luminescent Ruthenium Metal-Ligand Complex, Fluorescence, 12(2), 187-192.
  • Lakowicz, J.R., Gryczynski, I., Piszczek, G., Tolosa, L., Nair, R., Johnson, M.L., Nowaczyk, K. (2000) Microsecond dynamics of biological macromolecules, Methods in Enzymology, 23, 473-509.
  • Kumar, C. V., Tolosa, L. M., (1999) Exploring the hydrophobic binding sites of calmodulin with fluorescent probes: Dynamic formation of the excimer, Indian Journal of Chemistry, 38B, 1170-1183.
  • Lakowicz, J. R., Gryczynski, I., Gryczynski, Z., Tolosa, L., Dattelbaum, J. D., Castellano, F. N., Abugo, O. (1999) Emerging Fluorescence Technologies in Clinical Chemistry, Clinical Chemistry, Proceedings of the Oak Ridge Conference on the Road to Non-Invasive Testing.
  • Lakowicz, J. R., Gryczynski, I., Dattelbaum, J.D., Tolosa, L., Rao, G. (1999) Novel Methods of Fluorescence Sensing, SPIE Conference on Advances in Fluorescence Sensing Technology IV, 3602, 234-240.
  • Tolosa, L., Gryczynski, I. Randers-Eichhorn, L., Dattelbaum, J.D., Rao, G. and Lakowicz, J. R. (1999) Glucose Sensing, SPIE Conference on Advances in Fluorescence Sensing Technology IV, 3602, 46-51.
  • Lakowicz, JR, Gryczynski I., Gryczynski Z., Tolosa, L. Dattelbaum, J. D.,and Rao, G. (1999) Polarization-Based Sensing with a Self-Referenced Sample, Applied Spectroscopy, 53(9), 1149-1157.
  • Lakowicz, JR, Gryczynski I., Gryczynski Z., Tolosa, L. Randers-Eichorn, L.,and Rao, G. (1999) Polarization- Based Sensing of Glucose Using an Oriented Reference Film, Journal of Biomedical Optics, 4(4), 443-449.
  • Tolosa, L., Gryczynski, I., Eichorn, L., Dattelbaum, J., Castellano, F. N., Rao, G. and Lakowicz, J. R.,(1999) Glucose Sensor for Low Cost Lifetime-Based Sensing Using a Genetically Engineered Protein, Biochem., 267(1), 114-120.
  • Lakowicz, JR, Gryczynski, I., Tolosa, L., Dattelbaum, J. D., Castellano, F. N., Li, L. and Rao, G. (1999) Advances in Fluorescence Spectroscopy: Multi-Photon Excitation, Engineered Proteins, Modulation Sensing and Microsecond Rhenium Metal-Ligand Complexes, Proceedings of the Jablonski Conference, Acta Physica Polonica 99(1), 179-196.
  • Lakowicz, JR, Castellano, F. N., Dattelbaum, J. D., Tolosa, L.,Rao, G.and Gryczynski, I (1998) Low Frequency Modulation Sensors Using Nanosecond Fluorophores, Chem., 70, 5115-5121.
  • Tolosa, L. M., Malak, H., Rao, G. and Lakowicz, J. R., (1997) Optical Assay for Glucose Based on the Luminescence Decay Time of the Long Wavelength Dye Cy5TM , Sensors and Actuators B, 45, 93-99.
  • Tolosa, L. M., Szmacinski, H., Rao, G. and Lakowicz, J. R. (1997) Lifetime-based Sensing of Glucose Using Energy Transfer with a Long Lifetime Donor, Analytical Biochemistry, 250, 102-108.
  • Kumar, C. V. and Tolosa, L. M. (1994) 2,6-Bis(pyren-1-oyl)pyridine: A new Fluorescent Probe with a High Sensitivity to Hydrogen Bonding Solvents for the Development of Selective Sensors, Photochem. And Photobiol. A: Chem. Sec., 78, 63-69.
  • Kumar, C. V. and Tolosa, L. M. (1993) Interaction of Hydrophobic Probes with Serum Albumin – Influence of the Side Chain and Exciplex Formation at the Binding Site, Phys. Chem., 97, 13914-13919.
  • Tolosa, L. M. and Kumar, C. V. (1993) The Role of the Side Chain, Charge, and Hydrophobicity on the Protein Binding Affinity of Simple Fluorescent Molecules, FASEB J., 7(7), A1131.
  • Kumar, C. V. and Tolosa, L. M. (1993) New Charge Transfer Probe for Solvent Polarity: Fluorescent Hydrogen Bonding Switch, Comm., 722.
  • Radia, S. M., Kumar, C. V. and Tolosa, L. M. (1992) A New Approach for the Design of Sequence Specific Fluorescent Probes for DNA, Proceedings – National Conference for Undergraduate Research VI, 1796-1800.
  • Tolosa, L. M. and Sevilla, F. B. (1987) Copper and Zinc in Hair Samples from Filipinos with Pulmonary Tuberculosis, Acta Manilana, 36, 51-57.

Book Chapters

  • Tolosa L, On the Design of Low-Cost Fluorescent Protein Biosensors in Advances in Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology (2009) G. Rao, ed., Springer-Verlag Berlin.
  • Tolosa L, Rao G, Binding Proteins as Glucose Sensors, in Glucose Sensing, Topics in Fluorescence Spectroscopy, Vol. 11, (2006) C. Geddes and J. R. Lakowicz, eds., Springer-Verlag.
  • Tolosa L, Kostov K,  Rao G, Fluorescence Based Sensing for Bioprocess Monitoring, in Fluorescence Sensors and Biosensors (2005), R. Thompson, ed., Marcel Dekker Publishers.
  • Tolosa L, Nowaczyk K, Lakowicz J R, Fluorescence Probes for Biochemical Systems in An Introduction to Laser Spectroscopy, 2nd edition (2002), pp. 139 – 171, D. L. Andrews and A. A. Demidov, eds., Plenum Publishing Corp.

Current and Previous Support

  • Principal investigator – UMBC Technology Catalyst Fund (January – December 2019): A Branched-Chain Amino Acid Sensor for Very Early Diagnosis of Diabetes.
  • UMB-UMBC Research and Innovation Partnership Grant Program (2017 – 2019): Noninvasive Glucose Monitoring System for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. This is a Seed Grant to encourage collaborations between UMBC and the UMB School of Medicine on projects with potential for further funding.
  • Principal Investigator – NIH R41HDO88223 (2016 – 2018): Painless, Bloodless and Safe Glucose Sensing System for the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. This is an STTR project in collaboration with Fluorometrix Biomedical to develop a painless glucose monitoring system for the PICU using microneedles.
  • Principal Investigator – UMBC Technology Catalyst Fund (June – December, 2015): Studies of glucose diffusion through adult and neonatal skin models: development of a noninvasive glucose monitoring system.
  • Co-Investigator – DARPA N66001-13-C-4023 (2013 – 2017): CASTing for Biological Medicines on Demand. The goal of this project is to develop a device that will produce, purify and quantitatively determine the purity of a ready-for-delivery therapeutic protein in a few hours.
  • Co-Investigator – GE Health Care (2012 – 2013): Development of Novel Sensors for Infant Monitoring. Neonatal mortality rates can be largely improved by monitoring an infant’s thermoregulation, metabolic, cardiac and respiratory health. Our group, in partnership with GE Maternal Infant Care Division (Laurel, MD) is developing non-invasive, low-cost sensors for body temperature, glucose, CO2 and O2 in newborn infants.
  • Principal Investigator – NIH R41HD069201 (2011 – 2013): Safe and Effective Instruments and Devices for Use in Neonatal ICUs , “A Non-Invasive Glucose Sensor for Neonates”. This is an STTR project in collaboration with Fluorometrix, Inc and the UMB Division of Pediatrics. The device is primarily a swab that absorbs glucose on the skin of preterm neonates and measures the glucose levels using a miniaturized fluorimeter. This sensor is an alternative to methods requiring blood withdrawal from low birth weight infants for glucose determination. [$232,010]
  • Principal Investigator – NIH R03TW008213 (2010 – 2013): Bioassay Guided Isolation of Hypoglycemic Compounds from Philippine Medicinal Plants. This is a collaborative project with Dr. Evangeline C. Amor of the Institute of Chemistry, UP Diliman that would identify Philippine plants that are anti-diabetic based on bioassays for metabolite levels. The active principle in the plant samples are isolated using a novel method of quantifying efficacy of herbal medicines based on bioassay-guided responses of experimental animals. [$147,527]
  • Co-Investigator – NIH R21 HD066331-01 (2010 – 2012): Non-contact Optical Temperature Sensor for Neonatal Monitoring. This project aims to develop a wireless, non-adhesive temperature sensor for neonatal monitoring. Current practice uses a thermocouple held in place with an adhesive tape that can cause damage on fragile neonatal skin. Our group is designing a salve containing a temperature sensitive dye, interrogated by a camera as an alternative to the thermocouple.
  • Principal Investigator – Nanotech Biotechnology Research Project Support Initiative, University System of Maryland and Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (2007 – 2008): This grant serves as seed money for the development of molecularly imprinted polymers as sensors for tumor apoptosis. [$137,973]
  • Principal InvestigatorUnrestricted Gift from Becton-Dickinson Technologies for the support of one post-doctoral fellow. [$30,000]
  • Mentor/Advisor for Lauren Smalls-Mantey – NIH R01 DK072465-01S1 (2006 – 2007): Research Supplement to Promote Diversity in Health-related Research for Ms. Smalls-Mantey. The grant is support of Ms. Smalls-Mantey for two summers. [$15,915]
  • Principal Investigator – NIH R01 DK072465 (2005-2010): This project is for an optical device for minimally invasive, continuous monitoring of glucose, glutamine and lactate. The sensors are proteins found in E. coli that recognize the analytes in minute amounts.  The sensors and a specially designed low-cost device are alternatives to current enzyme-based sensors for diabetic care. [$1,359,750]
  • Principal Investigator – USAMRMC Award # W81XWH-04-1-0781 (2004-2006): This is a project funded by the US Army on a low-cost portable system for multi-analyte metabolic monitoring. This system is based on optical sensing of glucose, glutamine and lactate using a disposable cassette with wells containing lyophilized fluorescent binding proteins and a buffer reservoir. The main goal is to assess stress levels of military personnel in the field, but the device is applicable to other conditions such as diabetes monitoring. [$299,850]
  • Principal Investigator – NIH K25 DK062990 (2003-2006): This is a 3-year plus one-year no-cost extension NIH K25 grant under the mentorship of Dr. Govind Rao. This project seeks to develop a glucose sensor based on the E. coli glucose ABC (ATP-binding cassette) transporter. The objective of this study is to explore the potential of groups of proteins as sensors rather than the traditional single proteins. [$388,000]

Synergistic Activities

  • Regular Reviewer, NIH ZRG1 SSMI-Q Study Section for Small Business Biomedical Sensing, Measurement and Instrumentation (2007 to present).
  • Reviewer, Congressionally Directed DOD Prostate Cancer Research Program, National Institutes of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Science Foundation, US Army Research and Materiel Command, Maryland TEDCO and peer reviewer for major scientific journals.
  • Initiated collaborations between the UMBC Center for Advanced Sensor Technology and the UM Greenebaum Cancer Center, UMBC Center for Advanced Studies in Photonics Research, US Department of Agriculture, Spectrx, Inc., the Sensor Group of the University of Santo Tomas, Manila and the Chemistry Institute at the University of the Philippines.
  • An active member of the Philippine-American Academy of Science and Engineering, served as Secretary from 2000 – 2005, Member of the Board of Directors from 2006 – 2008, and 2012 – 2014, and President 2008.

Thesis and Postdoctoral Advisors

  • Thesis Advisor: Dr. Challa Vijaya Kumar, Department of Chemistry, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
  • Postdoctoral Advisor: Dr. Saul G. Cohen (deceased), Department of Chemistry, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA

Postdoctoral and Early Career Research Advisees

Dr. Xudong Ge

Dr. Amelita Bartolome

Dr. Hung Lam

Dr. Abhay Andar

Dr. Ramu Badugu

Dr. Chariz Penalber-Johnstone

Dr. Chandranekkar Gurramkonda


Doctoral Advisee

Valencia Watson

Lynn Wong

David Burgenson

Sheniqua Brown (graduating, November 2018)

Cristina Tiangco (graduated March 2017)

Wendy Lea (graduated December 2007)


Masteral Advisee

Archana Sriram (graduated, August, 2010)

Sunsanee Kanjananimmanont (Graduated May, 2014)