Joel M. Harris


Distinguished Professor

B.S., 1972, Duke University
Ph.D., 1976, Purdue University

Activities & Awards

  • Distinguished Teaching Award in Chemistry, University of Utah, 1978
  • David P. Gardner Faculty Fellow, 1981
  • Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, 1985-1989
  • Coblentz Memorial Prize in Molecular Spectroscopy, 1986
  • University of Utah Distinguished Research Award, 1988
  • ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry Award in Chemical Instrumentation, 1991
  • Pittsburgh Analytical Award, 1999
  • Editor-In-Chief, Applied Spectroscopy, 1998-2009
  • SAS New York Section Gold Medal Award, 2002
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, 2004
  • ACS Award in Analytical Chemistry, 2005
  • Distinguished Alumnus Award, Purdue University, 2005
  • Society for Applied Spectroscopy Fellow, 2006
  • ACS Utah Award in Chemistry, 2006
  • Robert W. Parry Teaching Award, University of Utah, 2008
  • Society for Applied Spectrscopy, Distinguished Service Award, 2009
  • American Microchemical Society A.A. Benedetti-Pichler Award, 2010
  • FACSS Conference Innovation Award, 2011
  • Coblentz Society Bomem-Michelson Award, 2012
  • Honorary Membership Award, Society of Applied Spectroscopy, 2012
  • University of Utah Distinguished Teaching Award, 2014
  • Utah Governor's Medal for Science and Technology, 2016
  • American Chemical Society – Division of Analytical Chemistry, Chair, 2016 - 2017

Research Interests

The research of the Harris Group involves the application of spectroscopic methods to investigate the chemistry of liquid/solid interfaces. Many steps in chemical analysis (separation, preconcentration, selective detection) involve adsorption or binding of target species to chemically-modified surfaces in contact with liquids. The transport of molecules to the surface and then laterally along the interfacial plane, influences the rates of surface reactions, catalysis, and the efficiency of chemical separation processes.

There is a significant need to understand chemical structure and reaction kinetics at interfaces between liquids and solids, and the Harris lab is addressing this challenge by developing new spectroscopic imaging methods for the analysis of chemical structure and kinetics at liquid/solid interfaces. In particular, confocal Raman microscopy is being applied to determining the chemical composi­tion of interfacial species within individual porous particles.  This experiment is also being developed for single-particle, solid-phase extraction to enable rapid, ultra-trace level Raman scattering detection in very small (10-fL) volumes. The kinetics of molecular transport and binding to surfaces is being characterized by single-molecule fluorescence imaging, to understand the role of these processes influence chemical separations and sensors. Changes in interfacial molecular populations and chemical structure in response to applied electrical potentials are being investigated by surface-enhanced Raman scattering and single-molecule imaging. Small potentials applied to conductive surfaces can manipulate the structure of the interface, change interfacial populations of ions, and control inter­actions with analytes in solution, yielding sensors and separations with controllable selectivity and reversibility.

In the area of biological chemistry, membrane interfaces play a key role in the regulation of cell functioning, communication, and homeostasis, and most biosensors rely on selective binding interactions at chemically-modified surfaces. Single-molecule fluorescence imaging can report absolute molecular surface densities of both probe sites and bound analytes at a biosensor surface. This information is needed to understand the thermodynamics of surface-binding reactions. Imaging the kinetics of binding and unbinding of individual molecules at equilibrium enables measurement of interfacial reaction rates that are not limited by the rate of molecular transport to biosensor surfaces. When combined with binding isotherms, a complete picture of the kinetics of biomolecule interactions and their energetics can be developed. These concepts are being applied to studies of peptide binding to supported lipid bilayers, which are relevant to signaling peptide access to membrane-bound receptors, to intercalation of pore-forming peptides in membranes, and to the behavior of proteins at biosensor surfaces that employ planar lipid bilayers as biocompatible supports. Quantitative single-molecule imaging is also being adapted to measuring equilibria and kinetics of DNA hybridization. In addition to fundamental studies, single-molecule imaging can also serve as an analytical method that enables detection of very low concentrations of target DNA in samples. The small fraction (< 10-6) of DNA probe binding sites occupied with bound analyte at the limit of detection yields a powerful method for determining extremely low (sub-zeptomol) levels of target DNA in a sample.

Joel Harris is a member of the Nano Institute of Utah and Utah MRSEC.

Recent Publications

  • "Spatially-Multiplexed Imaging-Fluorescence-Correlation Spectroscopy for Efficient Measurement of Molecular Diffusion at Solid/Liquid Interfaces," Justin Cooper and Joel M. Harris, Applied Spectroscopy, 70, 695 (2016).

  • "Calorimetry-Derived Composition Vectors to Resolve Component Raman Spectra in Phospholipid Phase Transitions," Jay P. Kitt, David A. Bryce, and Joel M. Harris, Applied Spectroscopy, 70, 1165 (2016).
  • "Single-Molecule Fluorescence Imaging of Interfacial DNA Hybridization Kinetics at Selective Capture Surfaces," Eric M. Peterson, Michael W. Manhart. and Joel M. Harris, Analytical Chemistry, 88, 1345 (2016).
  • "Competitive Assays of Label-Free DNA Hybridization with Single-Molecule Fluorescence Imaging Detection," Eric M. Peterson, Michael W. Manhart, and Joel M. Harris, Analytical Chemistry, 88, 6410 (2016).
  • “Confocal Raman Microscopy of Hybrid Supported Phospholipid Bilayers within Individual C18 Functionalized Chromatographic Particles,” Jay P. Kitt and Joel M. Harris, Langmuir, 32, 9033 (2016).

  • “Confocal Raman Microscopy Investigation of Molecular Transport into Individual Chromatographic Silica Particles,” David A. Bryce, Jay P. Kitt, and Joel M. Harris, Analytical Chemistry, 89, 2755 (2017).

  • “Raman Spectroscopy Reveals Selective Interactions of Cytochrome c with Cardiolipin That Correlate with Membrane Permeability,” Jay P. Kitt, David A. Bryce, Shelley D. Minteer, and Joel M. Harris, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 139, 3851 (2017).

  • “Magnesium as a Novel UV Plasmonic Material for Fluorescence Decay Rate Engineering in Free Solution,” Yunshan Wang, Eric M. Peterson, Joel M. Harris, Kanagasundar Appusamy, Sivaraman Guruswamy, and Steve Blair, Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 121, 11650 (2017).

  • “Confocal Raman Microscopy for the Determination of Protein and Quaternary Ammonium Ion Loadings in Biocatalytic Membranes for Electrochemical Energy Conversion and Storage,” Rong Cai, Sofiene Abdellaoui, Jay P. Kitt, Cullen Irvine, Joel M. Harris, Shelley D. Minteer, and Carol Korzeniewski, Analytical Chemistry, 89, 13290 (2017).

  • “Vibrational Spectroscopy for the Determination of Ionizable Group Content in Ionomer Materials,” Carol Korzeniewski, Ying Liang, Pei Zhang, Iqbal Sharif, Jay P. Kitt, Joel M. Harris, Steven J. Hamrock, Stephen E. Creager, Darryl D. DesMarteau, Applied Spectroscopy, 72, 141 (2018).

  •  “Selective proton / deuteron transport through Nafion | graphene | Nafion sandwich structures at very high current density,” Saheed Bukola, Ying Liang, Carol Korzeniewski, Joel M. Harris, and Stephen Creager, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 140, 1743 (2018).

  • “Confocal-Raman Microscopy Characterization of Supported Phospholipid Bilayers Deposited on the Interior Surfaces of Chromatographic Silica,” David A. Bryce, Jay P. Kitt, and Joel M. Harris, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 140, 4071 (2018).

  • “Identification of Individual Immobilized DNA Molecules by their Hybridization Kinetics Using Single-Molecule Fluorescence Imaging,” Eric M. Peterson and Joel M. Harris, Analytical Chemistry, 90, 5007 (2018). 

  • “Enhancement of Electrocatalytic Oxidation of Glycerol by Plasmonics,” Michelle Rasmussen, Alexey Serov, Kateryna Artyushkova, Dayi Chen, Timothy C. Rose, Plamen Atanassov, Joel M. Harris, and Shelley D. Minteer, ChemElectroChem, 5, in press (2018); DOI: 10.1002/celc.201800611R1.

  • “Confocal Raman Microscopy for Label-Free Detection of Protein-Ligand Binding at Nanopore-Supported Phospholipid Bilayers,” David A. Bryce, Jay P. Kitt, and Joel M. Harris, Analytical Chemistry, 90, 11509 (2018).

  • “Infrared Microscopy as a Probe of Composition Within a Model Biofuel Cell Electrode Prepared from Trametes Versicolor Laccase,” Ying Liang, Rong Cai, David P. Hickey, Jay P. Kitt, Joel M. Harris, Shelley D. Minteer and Carol Korzeniewski, ChemElectroChem, 5, in press (2018); DOI: 10.1002/celc.201801178R1.

  • “Single-Molecule Kinetic Investigation of Cocaine-Dependent Split-Aptamer Assembly,” Frances D. Morris, Eric M. Peterson, Jennifer M. Heemstra, and Joel M. Harris, Analytical Chemistry, 90, 12964 (2018).

  • “Single Layer Graphene for Estimation of Axial Spatial Resolution in Confocal Raman Microscopy Depth Profiling,” Carol Korzeniewski, Jay P. Kitt, Saheed Bukola, Stephen E. Creager, Shelley D. Minteer, and Joel M. Harris, Analytical Chemistry, 90, in press (2018); DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.8b04390.

Last Updated: 12/21/18