Milan Mrksich, Ph.D., Northwestern University

Milan Mrksich is the Henry Wade Rogers Professor at Northwestern University, with appointments in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, and Cell and Molecular Biology.  He also serves as the Founding Director of the Center for Synthetic Biology and as an Associate Director of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center.  He earned a BS degree in Chemistry from the University of Illinois and a PhD in Chemistry from Caltech.  He then served as an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University before joining the faculty at the University of Chicago in 1996.  He began his current position at Northwestern in 2011.  His many honors include the Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, the TR100 Innovator Award, Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award, and election to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Professor Mrksich is a leader in the science and engineering of materials that contact biological environments.  His laboratory has pioneered several technologies, including strategies to integrate living cells with microelectronic devices, methods to enable high throughput assays for drug discovery, and approaches to making synthetic proteins for applications as therapeutics.  Most notably, he developed the SAMDI biochip technology that allows enzymes to be tested at a rate of a hundred thousand per day, and that has become the leading ‘label-free’ technology in drug discovery.  His work has been described in approximately 200 publications and 500 invited talks.

Professor Mrksich is an active advisor in government and industry.  His present and past appointments include the Chair of the Defense Sciences Research Council—an advisory group to the Defense Department—a member of the Board of Governors for Argonne National Laboratory, and Chair of the Searle Scholars Advisory Board.  He has also been active as an entrepreneur.  He is a Founder of 480 Biomedical, a company that has developed stents for the treatment of vessels in the leg and that are now in clinical trials.  He is also Founder and Director of SAMDI Tech, a contract research organization that has commercialized his high throughput assays for discovering drug leads and that now serves global pharmaceutical companies.  He has also served on a dozen Scientific Advisory Boards of other life sciences startup companies.

About the Award

The iCON Innovator Award recognizes an active researcher/scientist within the ranks of life sciences education who is acknowledged by his or her peers as a leader in the contemporary teaching of, and scholarship in, biotechnology and its related sciences. The award also recognizes those scientists who demonstrate leadership potential at the frontier of knowledge in the life sciences and conduct research that is anticipated to enhance economic development in the State of Illinois.


Previous Winners:

2015: Robert A. Easter, President Emeritus, University of Illinois

2014: Richard B. Silverman, Northwestern University

2013: Dr. Gene E. Robinson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

2012: Janet Davison Rowley, MD, University of Chicago

2011: John A. Rogers, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

2010: Brenda Russell Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago

2009: Thomas J. Meade, Northwestern University

2008: Daphne Preuss, Chromatin Inc. (University of Chicago)

2007: Chad A. Mirkin, Northwestern University

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