Northwestern University scientist Chad A. Mirkin, a leader in nanotechnology research, has been awarded the inaugural $400,000 Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in Convergence Research from the National Academy of Sciences.
This year’s prize is being awarded for convergence research that benefits human health.
A researcher whose work cuts across disciplines, Mirkin is being recognized “for impressively integrating chemistry, materials science, molecular biology and biomedicine in the development of spherical nucleic acids that are widely used in the rapid and automated diagnosis of infectious diseases and many other human diseases — including cancers and cardiac disease — and in the detection of drug-resistant bacteria.”
These nanostructures are able to access and interact in unique ways with biological systems and structures, including cancer cells and tumors.
Mirkin will receive the award Oct. 13 during a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
“I am absolutely delighted to be recognized by the academy with this inaugural award,” Mirkin said. “It is a remarkable tribute to the many students and postdoctoral associates who have contributed to my group’s research over the last two decades.”
Mirkin is the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and founding director of Northwestern’s International Institute for Nanotechnology.
The prize was established through a gift from Raymond and Beverly Sackler and their foundation. It recognizes significant advances in convergence research — the integration of two or more of the following disciplines: mathematics, physics, chemistry, biomedicine, biology, astronomy, earth sciences, engineering and computational science — and achievements possible only through such integration.
“By successfully combining the power of many scientific disciplines, Chad Mirkin created an entirely new kind of nucleic acid that is fueling critical advances in the diagnosis and treatment of devastating illnesses,” said Ralph J. Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences. “We are pleased to recognize his significant achievements in convergence research with this prize.”