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Nanoscience, materials discovery expert to deliver Eyring Lecture

American chemist Chad Mirkin will give the general lecture on Nov. 16

Portrait of Chad Mirkin

Chad Mirkin, director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology and the Rathmann Professor of Chemistry and Medicine at Northwestern University. Courtesy photo

November 09, 2023

The tools, techniques and materials we use in our everyday lives have evolved considerably over time. From the stone materials of early humans to the complex, polyelemental materials used today, our lives are safer, healthier and more engaging in part because of the tools available to us.

While the transition to the modern age has arguably been slow, occurring over the course of hundreds of thousands of years, nanotechnology has emerged as an interdisciplinary, transformative field that is hastening the pace of discovery and development, driving new possibilities in medicine, energy and the environment, advanced manufacturing and many other fields.

Chad Mirkin is known by many for his significant contributions to the field of nanoscience and materials discovery methodologies. On Nov. 16 and 17, the director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology and the Rathmann Professor of Chemistry and Medicine at Northwestern University will be the featured speaker for the School of Molecular Sciences’ Eyring Lecture Series at Arizona State University's Tempe campus.

The general lecture on Nov. 16, titled “Foundational tools, techniques and materials as outputs of the modern age of nanotechnology,” will be presented at 6 p.m. in the Marston Theater in ISTB4. A reception will precede the general lecture in the lobby of ISTB4 from 5–5:40 p.m.

The technical lecture, “Repurposing the Blueprint for Life Through Colloidal Crystal Engineering with DNA,” will take place at 3 p.m. on Nov. 17 in the Biodesign auditorium. It will also be available via Zoom.

The Eyring Lecture Series is named in honor of the late Leroy Eyring, an ASU Regents Professor of chemistry and former department chair, whose instructional and research accomplishments and professional leadership at ASU helped to bring the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry into international prominence. The Eyring Materials Center and the Navrotsky Eyring Center for Materials of the Universe at ASU are named in his honor.

The Eyring lectures are part of an interdisciplinary distinguished lecture series dedicated to stimulating discussion by renowned scientists who are at the cutting edge of their respective fields. Each series consists of a leadoff presentation to help communicate the excitement and the challenge of science to the university and community. Past lecturers have included Nobel laureates Ahmed Zewail, Jean-Marie Lehn, Harry Gray, Richard Smalley, Yuan T. Lee, Richard Schrock, John Goodenough, Mario Capecchi and, most recently awarded, Carolyn Bertozzi.

Mirkin is known for his invention and development of spherical nucleic acids and dip-pen nanolithography and related cantilever-free nanopatterning. His general lecture will highlight his group’s role over the past 30 years in shifting paradigms in these areas, especially with respect to:

  1. Immunotherapy and vaccine design and development based on spherical nucleic acids (SNAs).
  2. High-throughput materials discovery through nanocombinatoric chemistry and the concept of megalibrary and AI.
  3. Stereolithography and additive manufacturing based on high-area rapid printing (HARP).

All these advances have increased our understanding of modern chemistry and materials science, and have significantly impacted society through their translation and commercialization.

Mirkin has authored more than 850 papers and has served on the editorial advisory boards of over 30 scholarly journals, is the founding editor of the journal Small and is a Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) U.S. editorial board member.

He has given more than 870 invited lectures and educated approximately 300 graduate students and postdocs. He has founded nine companies and has more than 1,200 patents with approximately 400 issued worldwide.

Mirkin has been recognized with over 240 national and international awards, including the Wilhelm Exner Medal, the Dan David Prize, the National Academy of Sciences Sackler Prize in Convergence Research and the King Faisal Prize from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He served for eight years on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and he is one of very few scientists to be elected to all three U.S. National Academies.

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