Chad A. Mirkin, Ph.D.

AIMBE College of Fellows Class of 2016
For outstanding contribution to nanomaterials engineering, development and application widely used both academically and commercially as diagnostic and therapeutic agents

Transforming the Way Cancer Vaccines are Designed and Made

Via Northwestern University | January 30, 2023

A new way to significantly increase the potency of almost any vaccine has been developed by investigators from the International Institute for Nanotechnology (IIN) at Northwestern University, results published in Nature Biomedical Engineering.

The scientists used chemistry and nanotechnology to change the structural location of adjuvants and antigens on and within a nanoscale vaccine, greatly increasing vaccine performance. The antigen targets the immune system, and the adjuvant is a stimulator that increases the effectiveness of the antigen… Continue reading.

Chad Mirkin receives IET Faraday Medal for ‘contributions that helped define the modern age of nanotechnology’

Via Northwestern University | October 21, 2022

The United Kingdom Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) today (Oct. 20) awarded Northwestern University professor Chad A. Mirkin the 2022 Faraday Medal.

Among the most prestigious honors for engineers and scientists, the Faraday Medal is the IET’s highest award and is given for notable scientific or industrial achievement. Mirkin is being recognized “for inventing and developing many of the tools, techniques, and materials that have defined the modern age of nanotechnology,” according to the official announcement.

“When people talk about world-class interdisciplinary research leaders, Chad Mirkin is at the top of the list, with countless advances that have shaped the entire field,” said Milan Mrksich, vice president for research at Northwestern… Continue reading.

Nanoparticle-Based COVID-19 Vaccine Could Target Future Infectious Diseases

Via Northwestern University | March 23, 2022

Just one dose of a new nanoparticle-based COVID-19 vaccine was enough to produce an immune response in animals on track with vaccines currently in clinical use. And with minor changes, Northwestern University investigators hope the same vaccine platform could target other infectious diseases.

In a new study, published in PNAS, 100 percent of mice who received the protein-based immunization survived when challenged with lethal doses of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. None of the mice experienced lung damage due to SARS-CoV-2 exposure, and all mice who did not receive this nanoparticle vaccine died in a 14-day trial… Continue reading.

Chad Mirkin wins UNESCO international prize for life sciences

Via International Institute for Nanotechnology | March 14, 2022

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has named Northwestern University’s Chad A. Mirkin as a winner of the 2022 UNESCO-Equatorial Guinea International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences.

Mirkin is only the second American to win this international prize, which recognizes individuals who have made significant efforts through scientific research towards improving the quality of human life. Mirkin was selected by the Director-General of UNESCO for his research on spherical nucleic acids, which the award committee cited for “revolutionary advances in diagnostics and precision medicine… Continue reading.

New spherical nucleic acid ‘drug’ kills tumor cells in humans with glioblastoma

Via International Institute for Nanotechnology | March 10, 2022

An early clinical trial in individuals with the deadly brain cancer, glioblastoma, showed an experimental spherical nucleic acid (SNA) drug developed by Northwestern University scientists was able to penetrate the blood-brain barrier and trigger the death of tumor cells.

This is the first time a nanotherapeutic has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier when given through intravenous infusion and alter the genetic machinery of a tumor to cause cell death. The drug crossed the blood-brain barrier, dialed down the level of a cancer-causing gene and promoted tumor cell death… Continue reading.

Nanostructures get complex with electron equivalents

Via University of Michigan | January 13, 2022

Complex crystals that mimic metals—including a structure for which there is no natural equivalent—can be achieved with a new approach to guiding nanoparticle self-assembly.

Rather than just nanoparticles that serve as “atom equivalents,” the crystals produced and interpreted by Northwestern University, University of Michigan and Argonne National Laboratory rely on even smaller particles that simulate electrons.

“We’ve learned something fundamental about the system for making new materials,” said Northwestern’s Chad Mirkin, the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and a co-corresponding author of the paper in Nature Materials. “This strategy for breaking symmetry rewrites the rules for material design and synthesis… Continue reading.

Encoding hierarchical assembly pathways of proteins

Via | November 1, 2021

Northwestern investigators have identified a novel approach to control the hierarchical assembly of protein pathways with DNA, according to a study published the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The approach may facilitate the construction of synthetic protein materials, which can be used for a variety of medical and scientific purposes.

“Hierarchical assembly methods are transformative because the structure of the final material is dictated by the information programmed into each individual building block,” said Chad Mirkin, Ph.D., professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology and Oncology, the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and lead author of the study… Continue reading.

New Therapy Extends Breast Cancer Survival Rate, Prevents Reoccurrence

Via Northwestern University | July 13, 2020

A new immunotherapy developed by researchers at Northwestern University dramatically extends the survival time of mice with triple-negative breast cancer, one of the most aggressive and difficult-to-treat forms of breast cancer.

In a new study, mice treated with the therapy, which comprises two immunity-boosting drugs housed inside a nanoparticle, experienced complete tumor remission for at least 100 days. All untreated mice died by day 30. None of the treated mice experienced adverse side effects or autoimmune responses.

The nanoparticle, called a spherical nucleic acid (SNA), is a globular form of DNA that can easily enter and stimulate immune cells. Northwestern’s Chad A. Mirkin, who led the study and invented SNAs, credits the nanoparticle’s shape and structure for the immunotherapy’s success… Continue reading.

Futuristic Technology Prints 1,000 Face Shield Components Per Day

Via Northwestern University | March 30, 2020

Researchers hope to make a dent in hospitals’ need with a single 3D printer

Northwestern University researchers have demonstrated the ability to generate 1,000 components for face shields per day — with a single 3D printer.

A critical piece of personal protective equipment (PPE), face shields protect health care workers from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as they treat patients.

When Northwestern researchers Chad A. Mirkin and David Walker heard about the PPE shortage in hospitals, their team sprang into action. In October, Mirkin and his research group, in a breakthrough article in the journal Science, unveiled a new 3D printing technique called “high-area rapid printing” (HARP), a 13-feet-tall printer with a 2.5 square-foot print bed that can print about half a yard in an hour — a record throughput for the 3D printing field… Continue reading.

Chad A. Mirkin to Receive Prestigious Perkin Medal

Via Northwestern University | March 29, 2019

Northwestern University’s Chad A. Mirkin, a world-renowned chemist and nanoscience expert, will receive the 2019 Perkin Medal from The Society of Chemical Industry (SCI), America Group. The award is widely considered as “the highest honor in American industrial chemistry.”

Mirkin is the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences and the director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology (IIN) at Northwestern. He also is a professor of chemical and biological engineering, biomedical engineering, and materials science and engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering and a professor of medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine.

The 2019 Perkin Medal recognizes Mirkin’s contributions to nanotechnology and nanochemistry, and the many diagnostic, therapeutic, and materials applications that have derived from his discoveries, including the invention and development of spherical nucleic acids (SNAs) and numerous nanopatterning methodologies… Continue reading.

New Megalibrary Approach Proves Useful for the Rapid Discovery of New Materials

Via Northwestern University | December 18, 2018

Different eras of civilization are defined by the discovery of new materials, as new materials drive new capabilities. And yet, identifying the best material for a given application — catalysts, light-harvesting structures, biodiagnostic labels, pharmaceuticals, and electronic devices—is traditionally a slow and daunting task. The options are nearly infinite, particularly at the nanoscale where material properties — optical, structural, electrical, mechanical, and chemical — can significantly change, even at a fixed composition.

A study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) supports the efficacy of a potentially revolutionary new tool developed at Northwestern University to rapidly test millions — even billions — of nanoparticles to determine the best for a specific use.

“When utilizing traditional methods to identify new materials, we have barely scratched the surface of what is possible,” said Northwestern scientist Chad A. Mirkin, the study’s corresponding author and a world leader in nanotechnology research and its applications. “This research provides proof-of-concept — that this powerful approach to discovery science works… Continue reading.

Chad Mirkin to receive 2018 Nano Research Award

Via Northwestern University | February 1, 2018

Northwestern University’s Chad A. Mirkin and Chinese Academy of Sciences Professor Lei Jiang have been named recipients of the prestigious 2018 Nano Research Award.

Mirkin is the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology (IIN) at Northwestern. He is being honored for his achievements in nanoscience and nanotechnology, including his invention of dip-pen nanolithography, a suite of cantilever-free scanning probe lithography tools and spherical nucleic acids (SNAs) used in materials and colloidal crystal engineering, extracellular and intracellular molecular diagnostics, gene regulation and immune modulation therapies. SNAs are the basis for more than 1,600 commercial products, including four drugs undergoing human clinical trials… Continue reading.

Chad Mirkin to receive prestigious Remsen Memorial Lecture Award

Via Northwestern University | January 11, 2018

Northwestern University’s Chad A. Mirkin will receive the prestigious Remsen Memorial Lecture Award for his outstanding discoveries in chemistry. The award is presented annually by the American Chemical Society Maryland Section, in conjunction with the Johns Hopkins department of chemistry.

Mirkin is the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry and director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology at Northwestern.

The Remsen Award was created in 1946 in honor of Ira Remsen, the first chairman of the chemistry department and the second president at Johns Hopkins University. The honor recognizes chemists of outstanding achievements, mirroring Remsen’s long career as a professor and researcher. Remsen awardees include scientists Edward Teller, Willard Libby, R.B. Woodward, Charles Townes, Roald Hoffman and Robert Grubbs. To date, 17 Nobel laureates have received Remsen Awards… Continue reading.

AIMBE Fellow, Chad Mirkin, elected foreign member of Chinese Academy of Sciences

Via Northwestern University | November 29, 2017

In a rare honor for an American university, three Northwestern University scientists — Sir Fraser Stoddart, Chad Mirkin and Yonggang Huang — have been elected foreign members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The three were selected for their scientific achievements and contributions to promoting the development of science and technology in China.

Election to the academy is one of the highest honors that China bestows on a citizen of a foreign country. The Chinese Academy of Sciences elects new academicians and foreign members biennially. This year, the academy selected 16 foreign scientists from eight countries, including the three from Northwestern.

“To be recognized by the Chinese Academy as a foreign member is a wonderful honor that reflects the global impact our research in chemistry and nanoscience is having,” said Mirkin, director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology and the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry… Continue reading.

Chad Mirkin receives 2017 Wilhelm Exner Medal in Austria

Via Northwestern University | October 20, 2017

Northwestern University’s Chad A. Mirkin received a prestigious 2017 Wilhelm Exner Medal at an award ceremony at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna on Oct. 19. He and CERN Director-General and particle physicist Fabiola Gianotti were each recognized with a medal at the ceremony.

The award is in recognition of Mirkin’s invention of spherical nucleic acids (SNAs), which are used in materials engineering, extracellular and intracellular molecular diagnostics, gene regulation and immune modulation. They form the basis for more than 1,600 commercial products, including three drugs that are in human clinical trials.

Mirkin joins an illustrious list of laureates that includes 21 Nobel Prize winners and scientific luminaries, such as Lord Ernest Rutherford, known as the father of nuclear physics; Charles H. Townes, inventor of the laser; and Stefan Hell, a 2016 Nobel laureate who pioneered super-resolved fluorescence microscopy. The medal has been awarded since 1921 by the Austrian Industry Association, Österreichischer Gewerbeverein (ÖGV) to scientists and inventors whose work has opened new possibilities in industrial applications.

“Any time one’s work is recognized with one of another country’s highest scientific honors, it is an extraordinary acknowledgment and validation of a life’s pursuit,” Mirkin said. He is the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry and director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology at Northwestern… Continue reading.

Chad A. Mirkin, Ph.D. To be Inducted into Medical and Biological Engineering Elite

Via AIMBE | January 20, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) has announced the pending induction of Chad A. Mirkin, Ph.D., Director, International Institute for Nanotechnology; George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Medicine, Professor of Materials Science, Chemistry, Medicine, Materials Science, Northwestern University, to its College of Fellows. Dr. Mirkin was nominated, reviewed, and elected by peers and members of the College of Fellows For outstanding contribution to nanomaterials engineering, development and application widely used both academically and commercially as diagnostic and therapeutic agents.