Govind Rao



Contact Information

Technology Research Center (TRC), Room 252A

Rao Lab Website; Center for Advanced Sensor Technology (CAST)


Presidential Young Investigator – National Science Foundation, 1991-1996
Ph.D. Chemical Engineering – Drexel University, 1987
B.S. Chemical Engineering – IIT (Madras), 1984

Research Interests

Govind Rao is Professor of Chemical & Biochemical Engineering and Director of the Center for Advanced Sensor Technology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.  He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.  His Ph.D. degree was from Drexel University in Chemical Engineering.  He has been a faculty member at UMBC since 1987.

Dr. Rao’s research has focused on applications of fluorescence spectroscopy to bioprocess engineering. His lab has developed next-generation sensors for low-cost non-invasive monitoring of oxygen, pH and pCO2 in bioreactors. In addition, novel sensors for glucose and glutamine have been developed. These sensors have led to a paradigm shift in bioprocess technology, as they collectively enable High Throughput Bioprocessing.  In addition, the Rao lab has focused on developing novel applications of Green Fluorescent Protein in Bioprocessing. Its unique fluorescent properties and ease of use in a variety of culture systems have provided new insights into heterologous protein production. Recently, the Rao lab has started developing the next generation of sensors based on surface plasmon coupled fluorescence. These promise to lead to ultra-sensitive and ultra-fast sensors but at low-cost.

He has received several awards.  These include the Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation, Outstanding Teaching and Research Awards from UMBC, the Van Lanen Award from the American Chemical Society, the Gaden Award from Biotechnology & Bioengineering, the University System of Maryland Regents Award for Excellence in Research and he has been named a 2003 Innovator of the Year by the Maryland Daily Record. Dr. Rao has several patents and these have been licensed to Fluorometrix, which he co-founded. Dr. Rao has served as the Chair of the Biotechnology Division of the American Chemical Society and on the Editorial Board of several prominent journals. In 2007, he was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Selected Publications – Google Scholar

Ge X, Hanson M, Shen H, Kostov Y, Brorson KA, Frey DD, Moreira AR, Rao G. Validation of an optical sensor-based high-throughput bioreactor system for mammalian cell culture. J Biotechnol. 2006. 122: 293-306.

Peter Harms, Yordan Kostov, Joseph A. French, Mohammed Soliman, M. Anjanappa, Arun Ram, Govind Rao. Design and Performance of a 24 Station High Throughput Microbioreactor. 2006. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 93:6-13.

Jose Vallejos, Yordan Kostov, Arun Ram, Joseph A. French. Mark Marten and Govind Rao. Optical Analysis of Liquid Mixing in a Minibioreactor. 2006. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 93:906-911.

Michael A. Hanson, Xudong Ge, Yordan Kostov, Kurt A. Brorson, Antonio R. Moreira, Govind Rao Comparisons of optical pH and Dissolved Oxygen sensors with traditional electrochemical probes during mammalian cell culture. 2007. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 97: 833-41.

Derek Smith, Yordan Kostov and Govind Rao. SPCE-Based Sensors: Ultrafast Oxygen Sensing Using Surface-Plasmon Coupled Emission from Ruthenium Probes. 2007. Sensors and Actuators B 127: 432-440.

Xudong Ge, Govind Rao, and Leah Tolosa. 2008. GBP-based glucose assay combined with microdialysis for glucose monitoring in mammalian cell culture. Biotechnology Progress (In Press).

Xudong Ge, Hung Lam, Swati Modi, William R. LaCourse, Govind Rao, Leah Tolosa. 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. Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, 1(6): 864-872.

H. Szmacinski, D. Smith, M.A. Hanson, Y. Kostov, J.R. Lakowicz and G. Rao A Novel Method for Monitoring Monoclonal Antibody Production During Cell Culture. Biotechnol. Bioeng. In Press.