Brian Cullum Ph.D.

Position Department / Business Unit
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Institution Disciplines
University of Maryland, Baltimore County Chemistry
City State / Provence
Baltimore Maryland
Country Website
U.S.A. link

Dr. Brian M. Cullum is an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC)

Dr. Brian M. Cullum is an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), where he has held an appointment in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry since August 2002. He received his B.S. in chemistry in 1994 from Frostburg State University and his Ph.D. in analytical chemistry in 1998 at the University of South Carolina, where his graduate research involved the development of novel optical spectroscopic techniques and fiber optic sensors for environmental monitoring. This work was performed under the guidance of his thesis advisor, Dr. S. Michael Angel. Following his Ph.D., he accepted a postdoctoral fellowship in the Life Sciences Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in January of 1999, under the mentorship of Dr. Tuan Vo-Dinh. At ORNL, he was involved in several different research projects, including the development of fiber optic nanosensors for intracellular monitoring of biomarkers associated with carcinogenesis.


Ph.D. in analytical chemistry in 1998 University of South Carolina

Career Highlights

Since joining the faculty at UMBC, his research interests have been in the development of novel optical sensors, nanosensors and optical spectroscopic technologies for biological and biomedical monitoring as well as defense related applications. This research includes the development of 200 – 500 nm diameter optical immuno-nanosensors that employ surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) for the label-free detection of specific proteins in individual cells. These nanosensors are inserted into an individual cell and positioned at the location of interest using optical tweezers. By employing SERS as the optical transduction mechanism for these sensors, it is possible to simultaneously to employ multiple sensors for different species allowing for the simultaneous monitoring of as many as 100 different intracellular proteins in a spatially localized format. Other related projects currently being pursued in Dr. Cullum’s research group include: the development of SERS nano-imaging probes capable of obtaining dynamic, sub-diffraction limited chemical images of soft biological samples (e.g., cell membranes, etc.), the optimization of multi-layer nanophotonic substrates for chemical sensing via SERS and the development of SERS based mRNA sensors for the early detection of gene activation in individual cells. In addition, other research projects aimed at developing a non-invasive sub-surface chemical imaging techniques for brain tumor margining are also being investigated in his laboratory.

Over the past four years, he has served as conference chair for the annual “Smart Medical and Biomedical Technologies Conference” at SPIE Optics East, which showcases cutting edge spectroscopic sensing technologies and their application to current medical and biological problems. In addition, he has also served as a project consultant for NATO’s Science for Peace Program (2004). His research as resulted in the publication of over 60 peer-reviewed publications and 8 book chapters on topics related to optical sensing and optical nanosensors as well as over 100 presentations of his work at national and international conferences both in the U.S. and abroad. This work has resulted in the filing of several patent applications with the U.S. patent and trademark office on topics related to optical sensing and optical nanosensors. For more information on Dr. Cullum and his current research efforts, you may visit his website at:

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