Northwestern professor Chad Mirkin elected member of the Institute of Medicine

Yoonj Kim

Northwestern chemistry professor and nanotechnology researcher Chad A. Mirkin has been elected a member of the Institute of Medicine. This honor makes Mirkin one of 10 people in the world with membership in all three branches of the renowned United States National Academies – Sciences, Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.

“I received the news by e-mail,” Mirkin said. “And I was very excited and honored because it’s an incredible accolade for a doctor, let alone a chemist who works on the fringe of medicine.”

The Institute of Medicine is a part of the non-governmental, non-profit United States National Academies organization and provides guidance on issues of health, biomedical science, and medicine to the nation. New members are elected annually by current members based on their distinctive achievements.

“The honor was certainly well-deserved for Professor Mirkin,” said Adam Braunschweig, a chemistry professor at New York University who worked under Mirkin for three years as a postdoctoral scholar. “He’s made contributions to many fields through his translation of basic scientific discoveries into medical innovations.”

In the laboratory, Mirkin is involved with multiple research projects throughout the year.

“One of his projects that I worked on involved taking gold nanoparticles and solid substrates to enhance future cancer therapy,” said Jeremy Schifberg, Weinberg ‘10, who worked as an undergraduate researcher for Mirkin. “He was obviously a very dynamic individual, definitely not the ivory tower type of academic, but still very sharp and demanding a lot out of his students.”

Outside of his nanoscience research and National Academies membership, Mirkin is involved with a wide range of influential responsibilities. Among the most notable is his position on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, which advises the White House on science, health and engineering issues.

Mirkin has also advised the President on U.S. investment in nanotechnology by helping create a set of policies for the use of nanoscience in the country.

“We tried to create the policies to make sure the U.S. uses money wisely in nanotechnology investment,” Mirkin said. “We want to make sure to develop it from the standpoint of science technology and economic development.”

The future, according to Mirkin, holds more challenges and directions for science to evolve and influence technology.

“It’s an incredible frontier ahead, there are even more opportunities in science than when I started, and I can’t imagine a more rewarding or exciting career than being a scientist today, ” Mirkin said.

[email protected], contributing writer