Skip to main content

Nanoscience expert receives 2016 Dickson Prize in Science

Chad Mirkin will accept the award and speak Feb. 2 at Carnegie Mellon University

EVANSTON - Chad A. Mirkin, the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology at Northwestern University, has been awarded the 2016 Dickson Prize in Science.

The prize is awarded annually by Carnegie Mellon University to an individual in the U.S. who has made outstanding contributions to science. Mirkin will accept the award and deliver the Dickson Prize Lecture, “Nanotechnology: Small Things Matter,” Feb. 2 at Carnegie Mellon. 

Mirkin is world-renowned for his nanoscience expertise and for the discovery and development of spherical nucleic acids. SNAs are structures made of spherical nanoparticles densely covered with DNA or RNA — the genetic blueprints of living organisms. DNA or RNA strands dangle from a common center, and the resulting 3-D structure gives SNAs chemical and physical properties that are radically different from linear nucleic acids, the primary structure found in nature.

Mirkin also is known for the invention of Dip-Pen Nanolithography and for his contributions to supramolecular chemistry and nanoparticle synthesis.

He has authored more than 670 manuscripts and more than 1,000 patent applications worldwide. Mirkin has founded multiple companies, including Nanosphere, AuraSense and Exicure, which are commercializing nanotechnology applications in the life sciences and biomedicine.

Mirkin’s other appointments include professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and professor of chemical and biological engineering, biomedical engineering and materials science and engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering. He's also a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

The Dickson Prize in Science, first awarded in 1970, was established through a trust fund created by Pittsburgh physician Dr. Joseph Z. Dickson and his wife, Agnes Fisher Dickson.