Dennis L. Matthews, Ph.D.



Neurological Surgery


  • Associate Director, Integrated Cancer Program, UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Director, Center for Biophotonics Science and Technology
  • Professor, Department of Neurological Surgery and UC Davis College of Engineering

Clinical Interests

Dennis Matthews's is an expert in developing optically based biosensors and medical devices. Dr. Matthews is Principal Investigator and Director of the UC Davis National Science Foundation?s Center for Biophotonics Science and Technology. He is also the Associate Director and Biomedical Technology Program Leader for the UC Davis Cancer Center that received NCI designation in 2002. In addition, Dr. Matthews is responsible for the development of industrial and medical applications of Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL) technology, especially for the prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as diabetes, stroke, brain trauma, chronic pain and cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Matthews leads a multi-directorate center within Livermore whose mission is to develop medical devices in collaboration with industry. Current projects and those already successfully transferred to industry include: an opto-acoustic recanalization device for treating ischemic stroke; a miniature x-ray source which is mounted on a microcatheter and used to treat coronary artery restenosis; micropower impulse radar for numerous medical diagnostics, including: differentiating hemorrhagic vs. ischemic stroke; an implantable, continuous-glucose monitor; and ultra-short-pulse laser microsurgery devices.

Dr. Matthews is widely acknowledged to have invented and developed the x-ray wavelength lasers. Among many other applications of that technology, he continues to collaborate with biologists in order to use x-ray lasers to generate x-ray images of living subcellular material, and with materials scientists to develop new methods of studying materials properties and defects. Finally, Dr. Matthews is extremely active in commercializing technologies developed at the national laboratories. He specializes in helping investors or small companies obtain the technologies needed to capture profitable new markets. He has already helped investors put together several start-up companies based on Livermore and other national lab technologies. He has broad scientific management and marketing skills, having managed programs as large as $30M/year while at Livermore and having successfully garnered project funding from both government and private sources.


Neurological Surgery

Center/Program Affiliation

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center


Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin, Austin, Texas, 1974

B.S., University of Texas, Austin, Texas, 1970

Professional Memberships

American Physical Society; Division of Electron, Atomic Physics; Division of Plasma Physics

American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery

Assessment Committee for Professorship in Biophotonics, Riso National Laboratory, Optics and Plasma Research Department, Roskilde, Denmark

IEEE/LEOS (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers/Laser and Electro-Optics Society)

Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics (JSTQE) Biophotonics - Reviewer for IEEE/LEOS editorial staff

National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, Board on Physics and Astronomy

Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)

SPIE (International Society for Optical Engineering)

The Optical Society of America

Honors and Awards

Recipient of Senatorial Recognition by U.S. Senator John Ensign, 2003

Recipient of the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer Award of Excellence, 1998

Fellow of the Optical Society of America, 1996

Recipient of the American Physical Society Prize, 1990

Sigma Pi Sigma, 1986

Fellow of the American Physical Society, 1985

Named as one of the nation's "Top 100 Innovators", 1985

U.S. Department of Energy Award for Research Excellence, 1985

Select Recent Publications

Chuang FYS, Lane SM, Matthews DL. Government research highlights "Shedding Light on Life" at the NSF Center for Biophotonics. IEEE/LEOS Newsletter, 19(3):4-7, 2005.

Rao RS, Visuri SR, McBride MT, Albala JS, Matthews DL, Coleman MA. Comparison of multiplexed techniques for detection of bacterial and viral proteins. Journal of Proteome Research, 3:736-742, 2004.

Metzger MF, Wilson TS, Schumann D, Matthews DL, Maitland DJ. Mechanical properties of mechanical actuator for treating ischemic stroke. Biomedical Devices, 4(2):89-96, 2002.

Naccache D, Decoster A, Jacquemot S, Louis-Jacquet M, Keane CJ, MacGowan BJ, Matthews DL. Amplification of soft x-rays in Ne-like germanium ions created by 0.53-micron laser light. Physical Review A, 42(5):3027-3033, 1999.

Rosen MD, Trebes JE, MacGowan BJ, Hagelstein PL, London RA, Matthews DL, Nilson DG, Phillips TW, Whelan DA, Charatis G, Busch GE, Shepard CL, Jacobs VL. Dynamics of collisional excitation x-ray lasers. Physical Review Letters, 59(20):2283-2286, 1999.

Trebes JE, Nugent KA, Mrowka S, London RA, Barbee TW, Carter MR, Koch JA, MacGowan BJ, Matthews DL, Da Silva LB, Stone GF, Feit MD. Measurement of the spatial coherence of a soft-x-ray laser. Physical Review Letters, 68(5):588-591, 1999.

Fields DJ, Walling RS, Shimkaveg GM, MacGowan BJ, Da Silva LB, Scofield JH, Osterheld AL, Phillips TW, Rosen MD, Matthews DL, Goldstein WH, Stewart RE. Observation of high gain in Ne-like Ag lasers. Physical Review A, 46(3):1606-1609, 1999.

Keane CJ, Matthews DL, Rosen MD, Phillips TW, MacGowan BJ, Whitten BL, Louis-Jacquet M, Bourgade JL, DeCoster A, Jacquemot S, Naccache D, Thiell G. Soft-x-ray amplification in a laser-produced strontium plasma. Physical Review A, 42(4):2327-2339, 1999.

Koch JA, MacGowan BJ, Da Silva LB, Matthews DL, Underwood JH, Batson PJ, Lee RW, London RA, Mrowka S. Experimental and theoretical investigation of neon-like selenium x-ray laser spectral line-widths and their variation with amplification. Physical Review A, 50(2):1877-1898, 1999.

Koch JA, MacGowan BJ, Da Silva LB, Matthews DL, Underwood JH, Batson PJ, Mrowka S. Observation of gain-narrowing and saturation behavior in Se x-ray laser-line profiles. Physical Review Letters, 68(22):3291-3294, 1999.

MacGowan BJ, Maxon S, Da Silva LB, Fields DJ, Keane CJ, Matthews DL, Osterheld AL, Scofield JH, Shimkaveg G, Stone GF. Demonstration of x-ray amplifiers near the carbon-K edge. Physical Review Letters, 65(4):420-423, 1999.

MacGowan BJ, Maxon S, Hagelstein PL, Keane CJ, London RA, Matthews DL, Rosen MD, Scofield JH, Whelan DA. Demonstration of soft x-ray amplification in nickel-like ions. Physical Review Letters, 59(19):2157-2160, 1999.

Matthews DL, Hagelstein PL, Rosen MD, Eckart MJ, Ceglio NM, Hazi AU, Medecki H, MacGowan BJ, Trebes JE, Whitten BL, Campbell EM, Hatcher CW, Hawryluk AM, Kauffman RL, Pleasance LD, Rambach G, Scofield JH, Stone G, Weaver TA. Demonstration of a soft x-ray amplifier. Physical Review Letters, 54(2):110-113, 1999.

Boehly T, Russotto M, Craxton RS, Epstein R, Yaakobi B, Da Silva LB, Nilsen J, Chandler EA, Fields DJ, MacGowan BJ, Matthews DL, Scofield JH, Shimkaveg G. Demonstration of a narrow-divergence x-ray laser in neon-like titanium. Physical Review A, 42(11):6962-6965, 1999.