Chad A. Mirkin Developing methods for controlling the architecture of molecules & materials on the 1 - 100 nm length scale

Research Interests

The Mirkin lab 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 proved 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.

Selected Publications

Rational vaccinology with spherical nucleic acids. Wang S, Qin L, Yamankurt G, Skakuj K, Huang Z, Chen P-C, Dominguez D, Lee A, Zhang B, and Mirkin CA. PNAS. 2019 May 21;116(21):10473-10481.

Immunomodulatory spherical nucleic acids. Radovic-Moreno AF, Chernyak N, Mader CC, Nallagatla S, Kang RS, Hao L, Walker DA, Halo TL, Merkel TJ, Rische CH, Anantatmula S, Burkhart M, Mirkin CA, and Gryaznov SM. PNAS. 2015 March 31;112(13):3892-3897.

Spherical Nucleic Acid Nanoparticle Conjugates as an RNAi-Based Therapy for Glioblastoma. Jensen SA, Day ES, Ko CH, Hurley LA, Luciano JP, Kouri FM, Merkel TJ, Luthi AJ, Patel PC, Cutler JI, Daniel WL, Scott AW, Rotz MW, Meade TJ, Giljohann DA, Mirkin CA, and Stegh AH. Science Translational Medicine. 2013 October 30;5(209):209ra152.

Oligonucleotide-Modified Gold Nanoparticles for Intracellular Gene Regulation. Rosi NL, Giljohann DA, Thaxton CS, Lytton-Jean AKR, Han MS, and Mirkin CA. Science. 2006 May 19;312(5776):1027-1030.

A DNA-based method for rationally assembling nanoparticles into macroscopic materials. Mirkin CA, Letsinger RL, Mucic RC, and Storhoff JJ. Nature. 1996 August 15;382(6592):607-609.

View all publications by Chad A. Mirkin listed in the National Library of Medicine (PubMed). Current and former IBiS students in blue.