William LaCourse

Contact Information
Office: UC 116
Phone: 410-455-2105

Professor and Dean, CNMS

Post-Doctoral Iowa State University 1988; Ph.D. Northeastern University 1987; B.S. Charter Oak College 1982

Professional Interests

Dr. LaCourse’s research interests include myriad techniques. His group performs basic and applied research on hydrodynamic electroanalytical techniques in liquid chromatography and capillary electrophoresis, adsorption phenomena at noble metal electrodes, and advanced sample preparation techniques (e.g., microdialysis and pressurized-fluid extraction). A major thrust of his efforts is to further understand and expand the limits of pulsed electrochemical detection (PED) techniques for the determination of polar aliphatic compounds. Dr. LaCourse applies PED to (bio)analytical problems of critical significance in the areas of pharmaceutical, toxicological, forensic, environmental, and life science arenas. Recent pursuits have expanded to mass spectrometry, with graduate student research resulting in the development of a novel platform for a desorption atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (DAPCI) source for mass spectrometry.

Dr. LaCourse’s experience extends beyond the laboratory and classroom, as he actively works to improve higher education structure. LaCourse was integral in developing the widely recognized Chemistry Discovery Center, an interactive, team-based supplement to lecture courses, improving student grades and retention in introductory chemistry courses. Current initiatives include improving transfer student success through curriculum alignment between community colleges and four-year institutions as well as creating a comprehensive, multidimensional model for public research universities to increase the number of students from all backgrounds completing majors in the biomedical and behavioral sciences through the STEM BUILD NIH grant. LaCourse also implemented the creation of revitalized core facilities at UMBC to allow members of the university and surrounding research community to have increased access to advanced instrumentation for chemistry, biology, imaging, and design.

Honors and Awards

Tau Alpha Pi, National Honor Society
Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society

Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society

Kauffman Fellow in Entrepreneurship
2007 – Present
Top Reviewer of the Year 
Journal of Chromatography A
Assistant Editor
Analytica Chima Acta
2004 – present


Distinguished Alumni Award
Northeastern University, Boston, MA
Young North American Analytical Faculty
Analytica Chimica Acta
Young Investigator’s Award 
Cygnus Therapeutic Systems
1993, 1994


Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy

Courses Taught

  • CHEM 100: The Chemical World
  • CHEM 101: Principles of Chemistry I
  • CHEM 102: Principles of Chemistry II
  • CHEM 300: Analytical Chemistry
  • CHEM 461: Advanced Instrumental Methods of Analysis
  • CHEM 398: Lead, Science and Society
  • CHEM 399: Tutorial Projects in Chemistry
  • CHEM 499: Undergraduate Research
  • CHEM 490: Special Topics in Chemistry
  • CHEM 898: Pre-Candidacy Doctoral Research
  • CHEM 899: Doctoral Dissertation Research

Research Description

Research in the LaCourse researchDesc_45_0group involves the development of tools and methodology for approaching emerging scientific problems. The LaCourse group is known worldwide for its research on Pulsed Electrochemical Detection (PED), with applications to (bio)analytical problems of critical significance in the areas of pharmaceutical, toxicological, forensic, environmental, and life science arenas. Students also have access to advanced analytical instrumentation housed in UMBC’s core facility (https://mcac.umbc.edu/). Recent pursuits have expanded to mass spectrometry, with graduate student research resulting in the development of a novel source platform for mass spectrometry. Techniques used by both undergraduate and graduate students in the LaCourse lab include liquid chromatography (LC), gas chromatography (GC), mass spectrometry (MS), and various spectroscopic detection. LaCourse has a passion for  mentoring and allowing students to explore problems which excite them.​

LaCourse Lab 2018

Selected Publications

  • Ott, L; Kephart, K; Stolle-McAllister, K; LaCourse, W, Students’ Understanding and Perceptions of Assigned Team Roles in a Classroom Laboratory Environment, Journal of College Science Teaching, 2018, 47 (4): 83.
  • Jewett, Sarah; Sutphin, Kathy; Gierasch, Tiffany; Hamilton, Pauline; Lilly, Kathleen; Miller, Kristine; Newlin, Donald; Pires, Richard; Sherer, Maureen; LaCourse, William, Awareness, Analysis, and Action: Curricular Alignment for Student Success in General Chemistry, J. Chem. Educ., 2018, 95 (2), pp 242–247.
  • Thompson, Katerina; Chmielewski, Jean; Gaines, Michael; Hrycyna, Christine; LaCourse, William, Competency-Based Reforms of the Undergraduate Biology Curriculum: Integrating the Physical and Biological Sciences, Life Sciences Education, 2017, Vol. 12, No.2.
  • LaCourse, William; Sutphin, Kathy; Ott, Laura; Maton, Kenneth; McDermott, Patrice; Bieberich, Charles; Farabaugh, Philip; Rous, Philip, Think 500, not 50! A scalable approach to student success in STEM, BMC, 2017, 11(Suppl 12):24.


Book & Book Chapters

  • LaCourse, William, Pulsed Electrochemical Detection in High-Performance Liquid Chromatography, Wiley-Interscience, 1997
  • LaCourse, William, Advances in Pulsed Electrochemical Detection for Carbohydrates in: Advances in Chromatography Vol 47, Taylor & Francis Group, 2009.
  • LaCourse, William, Pulsed Electrochemical Detection in Ion Chromatography in: Applications of Ion Chromatography for Pharmaceutical and Biological Products, Wiley, p. 49-90, 2012.
  • LaCourse, Margaret; LaCourse, William, General instrumentation in HPLC in: Liquid Chromatography Fundamentals and Instrumentation ed.2, Elsevier, p. 417-429, 2017.

Journal Articles

  • Keating, Loryn; LaCourse, William, Indirect pulsed electrochemical detection of aliphatic carboxylate-containing analytes following high performance anion-exchange chromatography, Talanta, 2016, 146: 594-602.
  • Winter, Gregory; Wilhide, Joshua; LaCourse, William, Molecular Ionization-Desorption Analysis Source (MIDAS) for Mass Spectrometry: Thin-Layer Chromatography, J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom., 2016, 27: 352.
  • Winter, Gregory; Wilhide, Joshua; LaCourse, William, Characterization of a Direct Sample Analysis (DSA) Ambient Ionization Source, J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom., 2015, 26: 1502.
  • Bass, Sarah; LaCourse, William, Technical Improvements in Quantitative In Vitro Microdialysis Sampling of Carbohydrates, Instrum Sci. Technol., 2015, 43 (6): 601-610.
  • Fedorowski, Jennifer; LaCourse, William, A review of pulsed electrochemical detection following liquid chromatography and capillary, Anal Chim Acta, 2015, 861: 1-11.
  • Fedorowski, J; LaCourse, William; Lorah, Michelle, Photo-assisted electrochemical detection (PAED) following HPLC-UV for the determination of nitro explosives and degradation products, Proceedings Volume 8358, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives (CBRNE) Sensing XII, 2012.
  • Kotnik, Darja; Novic, Milko; LaCourse, William; Pihlar, Boris, Cathodic re-activation of the gold electrode in pulsed electrochemical detection of carbohydrates, J Electroanal Chem, 2011, 663 (1): 30-35.
  • Fedorowski, Jennifer; LaCourse, William, A review of post-column photochemical reaction systems coupled to electrochemical detection in HPLC, Anal Chim Acta, 2010, 657 (1): 1-8.
  • Lu, Hua; Salimian, Sasan; Gamelin, Emily; Wang, Guoying; Fedorowski, Jennifer; LaCourse, William; Greenberg, Jean, Genetic analysis of acd6-1 reveals complex defense networks and leads to identification of novel defense genes in Arabidopsis, The Plant Journal, 2009, 58 (3).
  • Olson, Mark; Keating, Loryn; LaCourse, William, Indirect pulsed electrochemical detection of amino acids and proteins following high performance liquid chromatography, Anal Chim Acta, 2009, 652 (1-2): 198-204.
  • Xudong, Ge; Lam, Hung; Modi, Swati; LaCourse, William; Rao, Govind; Tolosa, Leah, Comparing the Performance of the Optical Glucose Assay Based on Glucose Binding Protein with HPAEC-PED: Efforts to Design a Low-Cost-Point-of-Care Glucose Sensor.Journal of Diabetes Science and Tech., 2007, 1(6), 864-872.
  • Shah, R; LaCourse, WR, An improved method to detect ethyl glucuronide in urine using reversed-phase liquid chromatography and pulsed electrochemical detection, Anal Chim Acta, 2006, 576(2):239-45
  • Kaushik, Romina; LaCourse, Willima; Levine, Barry, Determination of ethyl glucuronide in urine using reversed-phase HPLC and pulsed electrochemical detection (Part II), Anal Chim Acta, 2006, 556(2):267-274
  • Kaushik, Romina; LaCourse, Willima; Levine, Barry, A brief review: HPLC methods to directly detect drug glucuronides in biological matrices (Part I), Anal Chim Acta, 2006, 556(2):255-266