Company Leadership Team

  • 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 550 manuscripts and over 930 patents and applications (241 issued), and a founder of two other companies, Nanosphere (NSPH: NASDAQ) and AuraSense.  These companies have generated hundreds 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 50 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 Executive 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 over 100 patents and applications. In his role at AuraSense Therapeutics, Dr. Giljohann is leading scientific partnerships efforts to move SNA™ technology to commercialization.

  • 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.

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