Matthew Lew

Matthew Lew

Associate Professor

Electrical & Systems Engineering

  • Phone
  • Office
    Green Hall, Room 2160D
  • Lab location
    Green Hall, Room 2158


Builds new nanoscale imaging technologies


Professor Lew and his students build advanced imaging systems to study biological and chemical systems at the nanoscale, leveraging innovations in applied optics, classical and quantum detection and estimation theory, optimal system design, and physical chemistry. Their optical nanoscopes (microscopes with nanometer resolution) visualize the movements of individual molecules inside and outside living cells. Examples of new technologies developed in the Lew Lab include 1) using tiny fluorescent molecules as sensors to visualize the architecture of amyloid aggregates and chemical environments within cellular membranes, 2) designing new “lenses” that produce images that capture how molecules move and tumble, and 3) new imaging software that robustly measures the position and orientation of single molecules.


Matthew Lew joined the ESE department in July 2015. Before arriving in St. Louis, he was a postdoctoral fellow in the de la Zerda Group in Structural Biology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He earned his PhD in Electrical Engineering working in the laboratory of W. E. Moerner, a WashU alumnus and co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2014 for “the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy.”

Professor Lew was an invited speaker at the 25th Solvay Conference on Chemistry, the Gordon Research Conference “Single-Molecule Approaches to Biology,” the 17th International Symposium on Biomedical Imaging (ISBI 2020), and the 5th Annual Meeting of the Biophysical Society of Canada. He is a recipient of a 2017 NSF CAREER Award for his project entitled “CAREER: Nanoscale sensing and imaging using computational single-molecule nanoscopy.” He has also received the Excellence in Teaching Award from Emerson Electric Co. and the Outstanding Teaching Award from the Department of Electrical & Systems Engineering.

Professor Lew is a senior member of Optica (formerly OSA) and a member of the American Chemical Society, Tau Beta Pi, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Sigma Xi, and the Editorial Board of Scientific Reports. He is the faculty advisor of Washington University SPECTRA and was co-president of the Stanford Optical Society in 2013-14.

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