First Person | Chad Mirkin

Courtesy of Chad Mirkin
 Coach Mirkin (center) with son Ben (left), and friend Ryan Wickel

Chad A. Mirkin is a big name in the land of the small. A chemist who found his niche in nanotechnology, Mirkin, who's barely 39, is director of Northwestern University's Institute for Nanotechnology and a founder of two nano companies, Nanosphere and NanoInk, both in or near Chicago. With at least 50 patents and about 160 papers to Mirkin's and colleagues' credit, Mirkin recently received the Feynman Prize for, among other things, inventing a method of nanofabrication called Dip Pen Nanolithography™. DPN allows nanoscale structures and patterns to be built by drawing molecules onto a substrate. Also, over the last six years, his group has developed a suite of detection systems for DNA and protein markers that Mirkin thinks will transition diagnostics. "They will become the next generation of...

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