Chad A. Mirkin, Ph. D., Founder
Dr. Mirkin is the Director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology at Northwestern University, as well as the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and Professor of Medicine.
The most cited chemist in the world (past decade, Thomson Reuters) and the most cited nanomedicine researcher in the world, Dr. Mirkin is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Academy of Engineering, and currently serves on the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST, Obama administration). Dr. Mirkin is known for his development of nanoparticle-based biodetection schemes, the invention of Dip-Pen Nanolithography, and contributions to supramolecular chemistry, nanoelectronics and nanooptics. He is the author of over 500 manuscripts and over 444 patents and applications, and a founder of two other companies, Nanosphere (NSPH: NASDAQ) and NanoInk. These companies have generated dozens of products in the semiconductor and medical diagnostics arena, which are now sold worldwide.
Dr. Mirkin has been recognized for his accomplishments with over 80 national and international awards, including the 2009 $500,000 Lemelson MIT Prize. He is the founding editor of the journal Small, one of the premier international nanotechnology journals, has co-edited two bestselling books on nanobiotechnology, and has served on the Editorial Advisory Boards of over twenty scholarly journals.
Dr. Mirkin holds a B.S. degree from Dickinson College (1986, elected into Phi Beta Kappa) and a Ph.D. degree in chemistry from the Pennsylvania State University (1989). He was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology prior to becoming a chemistry professor at Northwestern University in 1991.
C. Shad Thaxton, M.D., Ph.D., Founder
Dr. Thaxton is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Urology at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Thaxton performed his Ph.D. in the laboratory of Dr. Chad A. Mirkin where he participated in the development of novel biosensors using surface-functionalized gold nanoparticles. Dr. Thaxton focuses his research on translational aspects of nanomedicine. He co-invented and co-discovered the Bio-Barcode technology for protein detection and collaborates extensively with Dr. Mirkin on translating the work into the clinical setting. Dr. Thaxton has been recognized for his accomplishments with 14 awards, including most recently, Bioscience Technology's 2009 Researcher of the Year and the MIT Technology Review's TR35 Award, as one of the world's top innovators under the age of 35. He has contributed to over 50 manuscripts and 6 patents and applications.
Dr. Thaxton holds a B.A. degree in Environmental Biology (1999, Summa Cum Laude, elected into Phi Beta Kappa), from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees (2004 and 2007, elected into Alpha Omega Alpha) from the Feinberg School of Medicine and Interdepartmental Biological Sciences programs, respectively, at Northwestern University. He is a member of the Institute for BioNanotechnology and Medicine and the International Institute of Nanotechnology at Northwestern.
David A. Giljohann, Ph.D., Principal Scientist, Chief Operating Officer
Dr. Giljohann completed his Ph.D. in the laboratory of Dr. Chad A. Mirkin where he developed oligonucleotide-modified nanoparticles, including NanoFlare™ and Spherical Nucleic Acid (SNA™) constructs. Dr. Giljohann has been collaborating extensively with physicians in the clinical setting to translate these technologies into impactful materials to improve human health. Dr. Giljohann has been recognized for his work with a Materials Research Society Gold Award, Baxter Innovation Award, Rappaport Award for Research Excellence, NSEC Outstanding Research Award, and as a finalist in the National Inventors Hall of Fame Collegiate Inventors Competition. He has contributed to over 25 manuscripts and multiple patents and applications. In his role at AuraSense Therapeutics, Dr. Giljohann is leading scientific partnerships efforts to move SNA™ technology to commercialization.
Percy V. Crocker, Jr., Vice President, Commercial Development
Percy "Van" Crocker brings extensive licensing, partnership, and strategic experience to AuraSense Therapeutics. After a 10 year career in consulting and business development, he joined AuraSense, LLC in 2009 as Vice President of Commercial Development and joined AuraSense Therapeutics in the same role at its founding. From 2006 to 2009, Van was a member of the Healthcare Practice at Booz Allen Hamilton/ Booz & Company, where he engaged Fortune 500 clients in strategic initiatives including corporate restructuring and M&A. Prior to Booz & Company, Van was the first employee and Associate Director of Business Development at NanoInk, Inc., a nanotechnology firm founded by Dr. Chad Mirkin in 2000. While at NanoInk, he closed multiple funded license and co-development partnerships in the pharmaceutical and electronics industries. He was also a member of the senior management team and directed the company's patent portfolio of 100+ filings.
Van began his career as a Senior Consultant at Oracle Corporation, where he oversaw the implementation of complex financial software for multiple Fortune 500 corporations. Van holds an MBA with honors in Finance, Management & Strategy and Entrepreneurship from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce from the University of Virginia.
Sergei Gryaznov, Ph.D., Chief Technology Officer
Sergei M. Gryaznov, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized scientist and expert in the area of telomerase, oncology, nucleosides, nucleotides, DNA & RNA analogues, lipid and peptide conjugates, small molecules and nucleic acid based therapeutic agents.
Dr. Gryaznov worked as the Director of Chemistry & Sr. Research Fellow with Geron Corporation, from 1998 to 2013, where he defined major scientific and drug-discovery directions for the company. While at Geron, Sergei created unique and powerful broad-spectrum therapeutic and diagnostic/imaging technology platforms, including a first-in-class, first-in-clinic telomerase inhibitor (GRN163L), which is currently in multiple Phase II trials in solid and hematological cancers.
Prior to joining Geron Corp., Dr. Gryaznov was a scientific co-founder of Lynx Therapeutics Inc. (now part of Illumina Inc.) from 1993 until 1997.
Dr. Gryaznov obtained his Ph.D degree in nucleic acid and natural products chemistry from M.V. Lomonosov Moscow University and continued his training as a Post-Doctoral Fellow and Visiting Scientist with Prof. Robert L. Letsinger at Northwestern University. Dr. Gryaznov co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications, and he is a co-inventor of more than 35 patents.
Chad Mirkin to Receive Linus Pauling Medal Award
Chad Mirkin Named Entrepreneur of the Year
Nanoparticles: The Next Big Thing in Medicine
Journal NATURE Highlights SNA Platform in "Biomedicine: The New Gold Standard"
Sergei Gryaznov PhD Joins AuraSense Therapeutics as Chief Technology Officer