Chad A. Mirkin (born November 23, 1963) is an American chemist. He is the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Medicine, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, and Director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology and Center for Nanofabrication and Molecular Self-Assembly at Northwestern University. He received his B.S. degree from Dickinson College in 1986 and his Ph.D. from Penn State University in 1989.
Mirkin is known for his development of nanoparticle-based biodetection schemes, the invention of Dip-Pen Nanolithography (recently recognized by National Geographic as one of the top 100 scientific discoveries that changed the world), and contributions to supramolecular chemistry, nanoelectronics, and nanooptics. In 2010, he was listed as the most cited chemist in the world over the last decade in terms of total citations, the second highest most cited chemist in terms of impact factor, and the top most cited nanomedicine researcher. He is one of only fifteen scientists, engineers and medical doctors, and the only chemist to be elected into all three branches of the National Academies. He has published over 590 manuscripts (H-index =119) and has over 900 patents and patent applications (253 issued, over 90% licensed as of November 1, 2014). These discoveries and innovations have led to over 1800 commercial products that are being sold world-wide.
The focus of his research is on developing methods for controlling the architecture of molecules and materials on the 1 - 100 nm length scale and utilizing such structures in the development of analytical tools that can be used in the areas of chemical and biological sensing, lithography, catalysis, and optics. Mirkin has pioneered the use of biomolecules as synthons in materials science and the development of nanoparticle-based biodiagnostics. A common strategy used by Mirkin's group is the use of the unique properties of Spherical Nucleic Acids (SNAs, spherical arrangements of nucleic acids with or without organic or inorganic nanoparticle cores) to enable the synthesis of novel materials and colloidal crystals, the development of high sensitivity probes for chemical and medical diagnostic purposes, and single-entity structures capable of intracellular gene regulation. His 1996 work with SNA-gold nanoparticle conjugates introduced the concept of a nanoparticle as an atom and nucleic acids as bonds, and it laid the ground work for the modern field of molecular diagnostics based upon well-defined nanoparticle and nanocrystal bioconjugates. His genomic assays are the cornerstone of Nanosphere Inc.'s FDA-cleared Verigene system and EMD Millipore's SmartFlare platform.
On April 27, 2009, it was announced that Mirkin was appointed to President Barack Obama's President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
Mirkin has served on over Editorial Advisory Boards, including the Journal of the American Chemical Society and Angewandte Chemie. He is the Founding Editor of the journal Small, one of the premier international nanotechnology journals, and he is an Associate Editor of the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Mirkin is a founder of multiple companies, including Nanosphere, Nanoink, AuraSense, and AuraSense Therapeutics.
Awards and honors
- 2014 – Honorary Degree, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil
- 2014 – Vittorio De Nora Award, Electrochemical Society
- 2014 – Honorary Professor, Nanjing Tech University
- 2014 – Honorary Fellow of the Chinese Chemical Society
- 2013 – Chemistry World Entrepreneur of the Year
- 2013 – Linus Pauling Award
- 2012 – Lee Kuan Yew Distinguished Visitor to Singapore
- 2012 – Honorary Doctorate of Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
- 2012 – Honorary Professor, Hunan University
- 2012 – American Chemical Society Award for Creative Invention
- 2010 – Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
- 2010 – Member of the Institute of Medicine
- 2010 – Member of the National Academy of Sciences
- 2009 – Member of the National Academy of Engineering
- 2009 – $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize
- 2007 – Alumni Fellow, Pennsylvania State University
- 2004 – NIH Director's Pioneer Award
- 2004 – Collegiate Inventors Award, National Inventors Hall of Fame
- 2004 – Outstanding Science Alumni Award, Pennsylvania State University
- 2004 – Honorary Degree, Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA
- 2004 – American Chemical Society Nobel Laureate Signature Award
- 2003 – Collegiate Inventors Award, National Inventors Hall of Fame
- 2003 – Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize
- 2002 – Feynman Prize
- 2001 – Leo Hendrik Baekeland Award
- 1999 – ACS Award in Pure Chemistry
- 1992 - Beckman Young Investigators Award
In addition to his academic and research accomplishments, Mirkin has been actively involved in national service geared towards shaping science policy decisions in the US and around the globe. Mirkin is currently a Member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST, Obama Administration), and he has co-chaired and contributed chapters (“Applications: Nanobiosystems, Medicine, and Health” and “Synthesis, Processing, and Manufacturing of Components, Devices, and Systems”) to the world study on nanotechnology research directions for societal needs (Nanotechnology Research Directions for Societal Needs in 2020: Retrospective and Outlook, Boston and Berlin: Springer 2010. Roco, M. C.; Mirkin, C. A.; Hersam, M. C., editors). He also co-chaired the PCAST report titled, “Engage to Excel,” focusing on teaching and engagement issues involving students who are in their first two years of undergraduate study at R-1, 2 and 4-year institutions, and community colleges. Mirkin also served as the PCAST ex-officio member of the Advanced Manufacturing Steering Committee. The report produced by the committee calls for sustaining the investments in advanced science and technology that produced America’s innovation economy and the establishment of a National Network of Manufacturing Innovation Institutes. In addition, Mirkin participated as a Delegate at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2011 Summit (Honolulu, HI), with 21 world leaders, including President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and representatives from Fortune 500 companies. At APEC, he served on a panel with the President of Chile, Sebastian Piñera Echenique, focused on, “Game Changing Technology Redefining the Region.”
- Faculty Details, Chemistry Department, Northwestern University.  Retrieved 2010-04-30.
- most cited chemist in the world
- Kelleher, Lauren. The Daily Northwestern. "NU professor named to Obama's science council." 2009-04-28. Retrieved 2010-04-30
- Fellman, Megan. Northwestern NewsCenter. "Mirkin Named to Obama's Science and Technology Advisory Council."  2009-04-27. Retrieved 2010-04-30.