Welcome to Milan Mrksich's Group and the
Laboratory for BioInterface Science and Engineering

My group’s interests overlap chemistry, biology and engineering, with an emphasis on the design and synthesis of materials that are biologically active and in applications of the materials to relevant problems in the biological and medical sciences.  Much of our work uses self-assembled monolayers of alkanethiolates on gold to prepare model surfaces that are structurally defined, yet that can have complex compositions and present the ligands in spatially-organized patterns.  We pioneered the design of ‘dynamic substrates’ that present ligands whose activities can be switched on and off in response to electrical or optical signals, particularly for studies that address the responses of adherent cells to changes in the extracellular matrix.  These mimics of the extracellular matrix have led the way to the discovery of novel ligands that mediate cell adhesion.  We have also developed robust surface chemistries for preparing biochip arrays and that are compatible with new analytical methods for analyzing the arrays.  For example, we have developed the SAMDI method, which uses mass spectrometry to analyze the arrays, and we have extended this method to the first label-free approach for high throughput screening, to the functional annotation of recently sequenced genes and towards an understanding of the networks that regulate protein acetylation.  Finally, a recent program is creating defined systems for exploring biochemical reactions to understand the role that localization of enzymes and substrates play in controlling reaction networks. 




July 2014

Professor Mrksich was profiled in CRAIN'S Chicago Business, which featured a look at the SAMDI method.


April 2014

Congratulations Jennifer Grant, a graduate student in the Mrksich group, on receiving a 2014 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship.


March 2014

Professor Mrksich is featured in Northwestern's news article, "Synthetic Biologists Break New Ground in Medicine, Energy." Take a look at the article here.


February 2014

Sean McCleary, a young chemist, joined our group for a day to experience a day in the life of Professor Mrksich (see pictures).


January 2014

We celebrated our annual Holiday party at Oceanique this year (see pictures).








Recent Publications


Plectin-Containing, Centrally Localized Focal Adhesions Exert Traction Forces in Primary Lung Epithelial Cells. J. L. Eisenberg, K. G. Beaumont, D. Takawira, S. B. Hopkinson, M. Mrksich, G. R. S. Budinger, J. C. R. Jones. J. Cell. Sci. 2013, 126, 3746-3755. [PDF] + Cover Photo


A Self-Adjuvanting Supramolecular Vaccine Carrying a Folded Protein Antigen. G.A. Hudalla, J.A. Modica, Y.F. Tian, J.S. Rudra, A.S. Chong, T. Sun, M. Mrksich and J.H. Collier. Adv. Healthcare Mater. 2013, 2, 1114-1119. [PDF]


3-Hydroxypyridin-2-thione as Novel Zinc Binding Group for Selective Histone Deacetylase Inhibition. V. Patil, Q.H. Sodji, J.R. Kornacki, M. Mrksich, and A.K. Oyelere. J. Med. Chem. 2013, 56, 3492-3506. [PDF]


Nanopatterned Substrates Increase Surface Sensitivity for Real-Time Biosensing. J.Y. Lin, A.D. Stuparu, M.D. Huntington, M. Mrksich and T. Odom. J. Phys. Chem. C. 2013, 117, 5286-5292. [PDF]


Label-Assisted Mass Spectrometry to Accelerate Reaction Discovery. J.R. Cabrera-Pardo, D.I. Chai, S. Liu, M. Mrksich and S.A. Kozmin. Nat. Chem. 2013, 5, 423-427.[PDF]


Steady-State of an Enzymatic Reaction is Dependent on the Density of Reactant. S. Li, X. Liao, and M. Mrksich. Langmuir 2013, 29, 294-298. [PDF]


Modular Assembly of Protein Building Blocks to Create Precisely-Defined MegaMolecules.  J.A. Modica, S. Skarpathiotis and M. Mrksich.  ChemBioChem 2012, 13, 2331-2334. [PDF]


The Mechano-Stability of Isolated Focal Adhesions is Strongly Dependent on pH.  K.G. Beaumont and M. Mrksich.  Chem. & Biol. 2012, 19, 711-720. [PDF] 


Cancer Prognostics by Direct Detection of p53-Antibodies on Gold Surfaces by Impedance Measurements.  E. Prats-Alfonso, X. Sisquella, N. Zine, G. Gabriel, A. Guimerà, F. Javier del Campo, Rosa Villa, A. H. Eisenberg, M. Mrksich, A. Errachid, J. Aguiló and F Albericio.  Small 2012, 8, 1962-1969. [PDF]


Three-Component Reaction Discovery Enabled by SAMDI Mass Spectrometry.  T.J. Montavon, J. Li, J.R. Cabrera-Pardo, M. Mrksich and S.A. Kozmin.  Nat. Chem. 2012, 4, 45-51. [PDF]


Discovery of Glycosyltransferases Using Carbohydrate Arrays and Mass Spectrometry.  L. Ban, N. Pettit, L. Li, A.D. Stuparu, L. Cai, W. Chen, W. Guan, P.W. Wang and M. Mrksich.  Nat. Chem. Biol. 2012, 8, 769-773. [PDF]  


Directing Stem Cell Fate by Controlling the Affinity and Density of Ligand-Receptor Interactions at the Biomaterials Interface.  K.A. Kilian and M. Mrksich.  Ang. Chem. Int. Ed. 2012, 51, 4891-4895. [PDF]



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For general inquiries contact MrksichGroup at


2145 Sheridan Road

B490 Technolgical Institute

Evanston IL 60208