Lakowicz is professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He is also the director of the Center for Fluorescence Spectroscopy (CFS), which he established in 1988. He has been developing concepts in fluorescence for 35 years and has published more than 600 peer-reviewed publications, written three single author books, and co-authored more than 20 books. Lakowicz also has over 40 U.S. Patents and is the recipient of numerous awards in the field of fluorescence.

The Center for Fluorescence Spectroscopy was a National Center for Research Resource for 15 years and is continued to be supported by the National Institutes of Health. The CFS has advanced the technology for fluorescence and its applications to the biosciences. Since 2000, Lakowicz has focused his efforts on the use of near-field fluorescence with plasmonics and photonics structures. This work has resulted in the publication of over 100 peer-reviewed papers on this topic, including experimentation, theory and reviews.

Established in 1991, The Estee Lecture is named in honor of the late Charles Remington Estee, a gentleman and scholar who served the department of chemistry, USD and the State of South Dakota since 1947. Estee inspired generations of students and motivated his colleagues to attain new heights. He served as chair of the chemistry department for 32 years and brought a sense of mission in science education. He organized and taught years of summer institutes for high school teachers and continued his contributions to the University as a Distinguished Professor Emeritus until his death.

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