Weinberg professor awarded Dan David Prize for work in nanotechnology

Chad Mirkin

Source: Northwestern

Chad Mirkin

Matthew Choi, Assistant Campus Editor

Weinberg chemistry Prof. Chad Mirkin was recognized with the 2016 Dan David Prize in the Future Time Dimension category for his research and work with DNA and RNA.

By manipulating RNA and DNA and attaching them to nanoparticles, Mirkin was able to assist in the development of SNA, spherical nucleic acids. SNA, which are artificial 3-D structures, can take forms significantly different from anything found in nature. SNA technology can be used in hypersensitive equipment that can locate cancer cells, reveal how drugs affect the body at the cellular level and treat diseases by permeating skin without incisions.

The Dan David Prize is administered by Tel Aviv University and includes a $1 million prize. The award focuses on achievements in three “time dimensions:” past, present and future. Mirkin’s work earned the prize in the future time dimension for his medical advancements that cut across disciplines.

“I am truly honored and thrilled to receive this international award along with professors Alivisatos and Pendry,” Mirkin said in a news release. “It is an extraordinary validation of many years of work in the laboratory.”

Mirkin shares the 2016 prize with Paul Alivisatos from the University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, and Sir John Pendry from Imperial College London. Ten percent of the award money will be donated to graduate students in the recipients’ fields.

“We are all elated that Chad Mirkin’s brilliant research has been recognized with this extraordinary honor from the Dan David Foundation,” University President Morton Schapiro said in the release. “The award recognizes the world-changing work being done by Professor Mirkin, his interdisciplinary research group and the International Institute for Nanotechnology at Northwestern.”

Mirkin is also known for founding two companies, Nanosphere and Exicure — formerly known as AuraSense — which focus on using nanotechnology in disease diagnosis and treatment. He also serves on Barack Obama’s President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology. Mirkin became a professor at NU in 1991.

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