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Top blue bar image Department of Biochemistry & Cell Biology

Dmitri Lapotko

Faculty Fellow in Biochemistry and Cell Biology

What does “nano” mean for biology and medicine? Since their invention, nanoparticles demonstrated both unique properties and an even more unique ability to manipulate energy at nanoscale. Although research into the biological, and especially the medical, applications of nanoparticles will result in entirely new knowledge and medicine, it is yet at the very beginning. In an effort to develop nanoparticle medicine into true nanomedicine, Lapotko’s lab engaged at nanoscale the two major life-supporting phenomena, light and heat. Using a mechanism of plasmon resonance in gold nanoparticles, we developed novel, tunable and stealth type nanoprobes, plasmonic nanobubbles (PNBs), tiny vapor bubbles that are generated around gold nanoparticles with short laser pulses. PNBs will provide molecular and cellular imaging, diagnosis, therapy and theranostics (diagnosis and treatment united in one fast procedure) with the speed, selectivity and precision far beyond the limits of modern medicine. Our interdisciplinary research includes three major avenues: fundamental studies of physics, optics and biology of PNBs, studies of PNB-induced bioeffects in cells and organisms, and the development of PNB technologies for cell level imaging, theranostics, surgery, gene therapy and drug delivery.

Select Publications

E.Y. Lukianova-Hleb, K.M. Campbell, P.E. Constantinou, J. Braam, J.S. Olson, R.E. Ware, D.J. Sullivan and D.O. Lapotko Hemozoin-generated vapor nanobubbles for transdermal reagent and needle-free detection of malaria.  Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2013

E.Y. Lukianova-Hleb, D.O. Lapotko Nano-theranostics with plasmonic nanobubbles.  IEEE J Sel Top Quant 2013

D.O. Lapotko Nanophotonics and theranostics: will light do the magic?.  Theranostics special issue, Guest editor, 3(3) 2013: 138-140

Lukianova-Hleb E.Y, Lapotko D.O. Plasmonic Nanobubbles for Cancer Theranostics.  Engineering in Translational Medicine 2013

E.Y. Lukianova-Hleb, A.N. Volkov, X. Wu and D.O. Lapotko Transient enhancement and spectral narrowing of the photothermal effect of plasmonic nanoparticles under pulsed excitation.  Adv Mater 2013: DOI:10.1002/adma.201204083

W.Lu, E.Y. Lukianova-Hleb, P. Parekh, D.O. Lapotko, YL Zu ssDNA Aptamer guided “nanobomb” specific for cancer cells .  FASEB J, 27 2013


  • Ph.D. Molecular and thermal physics (1988) Belarussian State University
  • D.Sc. Thermal physics (2003) A.V.Lykov Heat and Mass Transfer Institute
  • Department of Physics and Astronomy
  • Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering
  • photothermal interactions at micro- and nanoscale, imaging and microscopy, heat- and mass-transfer at nanoscale, nanomedicine, theranostics, bomedical nanomaterials, plasmon resonance, nanophotonics, gene therapy, microsurgery, early diagnostics
Email: Dmitri.Lapotko@rice.edu
Phone: 713-348-3708
Office: Anderson biolabs, 322, 351 (lab)