Take a sneak peek at the new NIST.gov and let us know what you think!
(Please note: some content may not be complete on the beta site.).

View the beta site
NIST logo
Bookmark and Share

Dr. Alexander W. Peterson

Research Interests:

Enhancing the capabilities of surface plasmon resonance (SPR) spectroscopy. The major interests of my research are to: 1) make SPR more quantitative, 2) develop SPR as an imaging tool, 3) combine SPR imaging with other techniques such as fluorescence and phase contrast microscopty, 4) apply SPR imaging to other areas such as cellular imaging and measure cell features as well as extracellular protein deposition, and 5) design a hybrid microscope that incorporates fluorescence microscopy with SPR microscopy. The combination of these orthogonal and complementary methods will allow benchmarking and confirmation of interpretation of the SPR imaging results.


SPR image analysis

Illustration of the SPR image analysis procedure to quantify protein deposition at the periphery of smooth muscle cells.


Brief slide show about high resolution surface plasmon resonance imaging of single mammalian cells:

High Resolution SPRI


Interested in a NIST-NRC Postdoctoral Fellowship?

2-year fellowship at NIST on the topic of:
Design, development and evaluation of surface plasmon resonance imaging as a quantitative microscopy of live cells and their extracellular environment.
Contact Alexander Peterson if interested in applying and writing a proposal (3000 words).  Application deadlines Feb. 1 and Aug. 1. Open to U.S. citizens, $66,919 stipend plus benefits, relocation expenses included.



High resolution surface plasmon resonance imaging for single cells. Alexander W. Peterson, Michael Halter, Alessandro Tona, Anne L. Plant. BMC Cell Biology 2014, 15:35. doi:10.1186/1471-2121-15-35

Cell spreading and proliferation in response to the composition and mechanics of engineered fibrillar extracellular matrices. Chen, A.K., Delrio, F.W., Peterson, A.W., Chung, K.H., Bhadiraju, K., Plant, A.L. Biotechnol Bioeng. 2013 Oct; 110(10):2731-41. doi: 10.1002/bit.24921. Epub 2013 Apr 22.

ATP Binding to Hemoglobin Response Gene 1 Protein Is Necessary for Regulation of the Mating Type Locus in Candida albicans. Peterson, A.W.; Pendrak, M.L.; Roberts, David D. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2011 April 22; 286, 13914-13924.

Using surface plasmon resonance imaging to probe dynamic interactions between cells and extracellular matrix. Peterson, A. W., Halter, M., Tona, A., Bhadriraju, K. and Plant, A. L. Cytometry Part A, 77A: 895–903. (2010). doi: 10.1002/cyto.a.20938

Selective Binding of RNase B Glycoforms by Polydopamine-Immobilized Concanavalin A. Todd A. Morris, Alexander W. Peterson, Michael J. Tarlov. Analytical Chemistry 2009 81 (13), 5413-5420.

Surface plasmon resonance imaging of cells and surface-associated fibronectin. Peterson AW, Halter M, Tona A, Bhadriraju K, Plant AL. BMC Cell Biol. 2009 Feb 26;10(1):16.

Monoclonal antibody selection for interleukin-4 quantification using suspension arrays and forward-phase protein microarrays. Wang L, Cole KD, Peterson A, He HJ, Gaigalas AK, Zong Y. J Proteome Res. 2007 Dec;6(12):4720-7.

Hybridization of mismatched or partially matched DNA at surfaces. Peterson, A. W.; Wolf, L. K.; Georgiadis, R. M. (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 124 (49) 14601-7 2002).                          

The Effect of Surface Probe Density on DNA Hybridization. Peterson, A. W.; Heaton, R. J.; Georgiadis, R. M. (Nucleic Acids Research. (29) 5163-5168, 2001).  

Electrostatic surface plasmon resonance: Direct electric field-induced hybridization and denaturation in monolayer nucleic acid films and label-free discrimination of base mismatches. Heaton, R. J.; Peterson, A. W.; Georgiadis, R. M. (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. 98:(7) 3701-4, 2001).  

Kinetic control of hybridization in surface immobilized DNA monolayer films. Peterson, A. W.; Heaton, R. J.; Georgiadis, R. (Journal of the American Chemical Society 122: (32) 7837-7838, 2000).  

Quantitative measurements and modeling of kinetics in nucleic acid monolayer films using SPR spectroscopy. Georgiadis, R.; Peterlinz, K. P.; Peterson, A. W. (Journal of the American Chemical Society 122: (13) 3166-3173, 2000 ).  

Surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy as a probe of in-plane polymerization in monolayer organic conducting films. Georgiadis, R.; Peterlinz, K. A.; Rahn, J. R.; Peterson, A. W.; Grassi, J. H.; (Langmuir 16: (17) 6759-6762, 2000).


Dr. Alexander W. Peterson


Research Chemist
Biosystems and Biomaterials Division
Cell Systems Science Group

Employment History:

07/2006 - present
Research Chemist 
Biochemical Science Division

06/2003 – 06/2006
Postdoctoral Fellow
Laboratory of Pathology
National Cancer Institute, NIH


Ph.D. Chemistry, Boston University, 2003
Thesis: "Nucleic Acid Films Studied by Surface Plasmon Resonance Spectroscopy"
B.S. Chemistry, M.I.T., 1995


Phone: 301-975-5665
Email: alexander.peterson@nist.gov
Fax: 301-975-8246