Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University
Lou and Jean Malnati Brain Tumor Institute

Chad Mirkin, PhD

George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry, Medicine, Materials
Science & Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Chemical & Biological Engineering
Director International Institute for Nanotechnology
Director Northwestern University Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence
Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science

Chad Mirkin, PhD

Research Program


chadnano( at )


Selected Publications

View Publications Listing on LatticeGrid

Cancer-Focused Research

Dr. Mirkin focuses on the development and application of spherical nucleic acids (SNAs) in biology, the life sciences, and medicine. These novel structures are the basis for highly sensitive and selective genetic and immunoassays for detecting disease targets at ultra-low concentrations, highly efficacious gene regulation and immunomodulation methodologies for treating many diseases, and extremely useful intracellular detection schemes (nanoflare technology) for the quantitative analysis of genetic content in single live cells. Remarkably, these highly negatively charged SNA structures do not require cationic transfection agents or additional particle surface modifications and naturally enter all cell lines tested to date (over 60, including primary cells) in high quantities. Using coreless versions of SNAs, Mirkin has proven that the novel properties of these structures, including their efficient cellular uptake and resistance to intracellular degradation, are due to the dense and highly oriented arrangement of the nucleic acids comprising the ligand shell. Mirkin?s SNA technology is advancing medicine by outperforming traditionally used probes and agents in a variety of applications due to their unique nanoscale physical and chemical properties that result from their unusual three-dimensional structure.