Professional Profile - Ewa Goldys

Professor Ewa M. Goldys holds a Personal Chair in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia . She is Deputy Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale Biophotonics jointly set up with the University of Adelaide and RMIT (see She established the "MQ BioFocus" Research Centre at Macquarie University (2010-2015). She founded and led the ARC/NHMRC Research Network “Fluorescence Applications in Biotechnology and Life Sciences” (FABLS) (2004-2009). Its key function was to foster interdisciplinary research and to develop linkages between industry and academia. She also established Macquarie University's Optical Characterisation Facility (over $ 2M investment), supported by Australia's National Critical Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS).

Professor Goldys attracted over $50M in external competitive research funding, also for interdisciplinary research. She has also been a long-term International Member of Photonics4Life (a key European consortium in Biophotonics), and several EU COST actions. She leads a vibrant research team of early career researchers and postgraduate students and she is a dedicated mentor of research fellows.

Professor Goldys pioneered a number of ultrasensitive analysis methods of non-invasive label-free characterisation of biological samples as tools for biology and health diagnostics. This research addresses the problem of how to extract subtle biochemical information available in autofluorescence images of cells and tissues. This methodology turned out to be very powerful; in particular it has been possible to differentiate yeast strains and accurately identify percentage mixtures in mixed cultures. Using fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM), she was able to detect metabolic inhibition in breast cancer. She has also developed an automated reagent-free method for cellular characterization able to distinguish between subpopulations of cells based on autofluorescence microscopy. It allows the determination of different cell subtypes within a large population. This characterisation is based upon the detection and quantification of various metabolites by their natural properties without any chemical interference. They are able to currently detect and provide cellular maps of different metabolites (free and bound NADH, flavins, A2E, lipofuscin, and cytochrome C). This patented method provides a collective metabolic “fingerprint” which can be used to distinguish healthy from dysregulated cells in a variety of diseases, including cancer and other conditions.

Professor Goldys made major contributions to fluorescent labelling, a key optical technique to characterise cells and tissues by characterising and developing applications of specialised fluorescent nanoparticles. Efforts were focused on bringing in new functionalities such as long fluorescence lifetime and fluorescence upconversion. This important labelling modality makes it possible to excite the cells/tissues in the near infrared (where the transparency of biological media is optimal) and to observe the signal at much shorter wavelengths so that autofluorescence background can be minimised. This has led to the first successful demonstration of fluorescence upconversion in nanoparticles (2006) and a sequence of works concerned with optical characterisation of lanthanide-doped nanoparticles, including publications in Nature Nanotechnology (2013) and Nature Photonics (2014).

Professor Goldys is Fellow Optical Society (2010). The citation reads "For research leadership in optical characterisation and biomedical sensing that has promoted widespread interdisciplinary awareness of light in life sciences”. She chaired the Mees Medal Committee of the Optical Society in 2014. She initiated and chaired numerous conferences and workshops and she has an ongoing involvement with BIOS, the world's largest international biomedical optics meeting & part of the International Society for Optics & Photonics (SPIE) ‘Photonics West’.

She authored and co-authored over 200 refereed journal publications and she edited a book "Fluorescence Applications in Biotechnology and Life Sciences" published by Wiley.

Professor Goldys has a wide network of international and national research partners including within and with the industry.


Background: Electron microscopy image of amazingly self-oganised dried green fluorescent protein (GFP).
In the banner Professor Ewa Goldys looks into a Renishaw Raman microscope.
Website created by Anna Goldys -

Contact Details

Professor Ewa M. Goldys
Deputy Director
ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale Biopophotonics
Macquarie University
Sydney 2109 NSW
Ph. - 61 (02) 9850 8902
Fax - 61 (02) 9850 8115
Email -