Coherent manipulation of molecular wavepackets in biomolecules might contribute to the quest towards label-free cellular imaging and protein identification. We report the use of optimally tailored UV laser pulses in pump-probe depletion experiments that selectively enhance or decrease fluorescence between two aromatic amino acids: tryptophan (Trp) and tyrosine (Tyr). Selective fluorescence modulation is achieved with a contrast of ∼35%. A neat modification of the time-dependent fluorescence depletion signal of Trp is observed, while the Tyr transient trace remains unchanged. The mechanism invoked for explaining the change of the depletion of Trp is a less efficient coupling between the fluorescing state and the higher non-radiative excited states by the optimally shaped pulse, than by the reference pulse. © 2012 the Owner Societies.