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. 




June 2018

Congratulations to Elamar, Sarah and Adam for successfully completing their qualification exams to enter Ph.D. candidacy!

June 2018

Congratulations to Kazi, Azmain and Eric for having their paper, " Traceless Immobilization of Analytes for High-Throughput Experiments with SAMDI Mass Spectrometry " accepted in JACS!

June 2018

Congratulations to Jen, Justin, Juliet and Paul for having their paper, "An Immobilized Enzyme Reactor for Spatiotemporal Control over Reaction Products" accepted in Small!

May 2018

Congratulations to Shuheng for the acceptance of her paper, "An Unusual Salt Effect in an Interfacial Nucleophilic Substitution Reaction" in Langmuir!

May 2018

Congratulations to Maria Cabezas on successfully defending her thesis!

May 2018

Congratulations to Sherry, Hsin-Yu and our collaborators in the Ameer group for acceptance of their paper "A Potent Laminin-Inspired Antioxidant Regenerative Dressing Accelerates Wound Healing in Diabetes in Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci.!

May 2018

Congratulations to Justin and Yao, for having their paper "Synthesis of Cyclic Megamolecules" accepted in JACS!

April 2018

Congratulations to Kevin Metcalf for being awarded an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship!

March 2018

Congratulations to Blaise Kimmel for being awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship!

March 2018

Congratulations to Liang and our collaborators in the Jewett lab for the acceptance of our paper “Design of glycosylation sites by rapid synthesis and analysis of glycosyltransferases” in Nature Chemical Biology!.

October 2017

Congratulations to Lindsey and Hsin-Yu, for having their review “Peptide Arrays: Development and Application” accepted in Analytical Chemistry.

September 2017

Congratulations to Caleb and Mike and our collaborators in the Fierke group, for having their paper “Active Site Metal Identity Alters HDAC8 Substrate Selectivity: A Potential Novel Regulatory Mechanism” accepted in Biochemistry.

September 2017

Congratulations to Sarah, Jeffrey and our collaborators in the Liedberg group, for having their paper “A Bottom-Up Proteomic Approach to Identify Substrate Specificity of Outer Membrane Protease OmpT” accepted in Angew Chem.

July 2017

Congratulations to Lindsey and our collaborators Albert and Neda Bagheri, for having their paper “Machine Learning on SAMDI Mass Spectrometry Signal to Noise Ratio Improves Peptide Array Designs” accepted in Analytical Chemistry.

July 2017

Congratulations to Patrick, for having his paper “An Assay Based on SAMDI Mass Spectrometry for Profiling Protein Interaction Domains” accepted in JACS.

May 2017

Megan Burton, undergrad in the Mrksich group, was awarded the Fulbright scholarship or the 2017-2018 year. She will be working with Dr. Raphaeil Margueron at the Curie Institute in Paris, comparing the genetic modifications of different cancerous tumors.

January 2017

Congratulations to Maria for having her paper "Nanopatterned Extracellular Matrices Enable Cell-Based Assays with a Mass Spectrometric Readout" accepted in NanoLetters.

September 2016

Congratulations to Pradeep and our collaborators in the Van Duyne and Schatz Groups, for having their paper “Bisboronic Acids for Selective, Physiologically Relevant Direct Glucose Sensing with Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy” accepted in JACS.

Milan discusses the emerging field of Synthetic Biology and its rapidly developing impact on cancer research. Link to article here.

July 2016

Congratulations to Eric, Pradeep and our collaborators, Professor Al George and Lyndsey Anderson, for having their paper “Measuring Drug Metabolism Kinetics and Drug-Drug Interactions with SAMDI Mass Spectrometry” accepted in Analytical Chemistry.

May 2016

Congratulations to Justin and our collaborators in the Hupp and Farha groups for having their paper “Toward Design Rules for Enzyme Immobilization in Hierarchical Mesoporous Metal-Organic Frameworks” accepted in CHEM.


Congratulations to Eric and Maria for their paper “Cellular Assays with a Molecular Endpoint Measured by SAMDI Mass Spectrometry” accepted for publication in Small.


Milan was interviewed for a story on the role of big data in biology. You can find the article here.

March 2016

Milan, Director of the Center for Synthetic Biology, invites you to celebrate the Center's launch event on March 22, 3pm-6pm in the Ford ITW Calssroom, Evanston campus.



Milan is presenting a talk on the use of SAMDI to measure enzyme activities in lysates from single cells, at this week's Pittcon meeting.


Congratulations to Kristin on acceptance of her paper "Micropatterning Facilitates the Long-Term Growth and Analysis of iPSC-Derived Individual Human Neurons and Neuronal Networks" by Advanced Healthcare Materials.





Milan and Senator Dick Durbin discuss the increase in NIH's budget


Recent Publications

  • Nanopatterned Extracellular Matrices Enable Cell-Based Assays with a Mass Spectrometric Readout.  Cabezas, M., Mirkin, C.M. and Mrksich, M. Nano Lett., 201717, 1373-1377. [PDF]
  • An Assay Based on SAMDI Mass Spectrometry for Profiling Protein Interaction Domains.  O’Kane, P. and Mrksich, M.  J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2017139, 10320-10327. [PDF]
  • Machine learning on Signal to Noise Ratio Improves Peptide Array Design in SAMDI Mass Spectrometry.  Xu, A., Szymczak, L., Mrksich, M. and Bagheri, N.  Anal. Chem., 201789, in press. [PDF]
  • A Bottom-Up Proteomic Approach to Identify Substrate Specificity of Outer Membrane Protease OmpT. Wood, S.E., Sinsinbar, G.,Gudlur, S., Nallani, M., Huang, C.-F., Liedberg, B. and Mrksich, M.  Ang. Chem., 201756, in press. [PDF] 
  • Active Site Metal Identity Alters Histone Deacetylase 8 Substrate Selectivity: A Potential Novel Regulatory Mechanism.  Castaneda, C.A., Lopez, J.E., Joseph, C.G., Scholle, M.D., Mrksich, M. and Fierke, C.A., Biochemistry201756, in press.  [PDF] 
  • Peptide Arrays: Development and Application.  Szymczak, L.C., Kuo, H.-Y. and Mrksich, M., Anal. Chem., 2018, 90, 266-282.  [PDF]
  • Efficient Syntheses of Diverse, Medicinally Relevant Targets Planned by Computer and Executed in the Laboratory.  Klucznik, R., Mikulak, B., McCormack, M.P., Lima, H., Szymkuc, S., Bhowmick, M., Molga, K., Zhou, Y., Rickershauser, L., Gajewska, E.P., Toutchkine, A., Dittwald, P., Startek, M.P., Kirkovits, G.J., Roszak, R., Adamski, A., Sieredzinska, B., Mrksich, M., Trice, S.L.J. and Grzybowski, B.A.  Chem., 2018, in press.   [PDF] 
  • Design of Glycosylation Sites by Rapid Synthesis and Analysis of Glycosyltransferases. Kightlinger, W., Lin, L., Rosztoczy, M., Li, W., DeLisa, M.P., Mrksich, M. and Jewett, M.C., Nat. Chem. Biol., 2018, in press. 
  • Synthesis of Cyclic Megamolecules.  Modica, J.A., Lin, Y. and Mrksich, M.  J. Am. Chem. Soc2018140, in press.


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    2145 Sheridan Road

    B490 Technolgical Institute

    Evanston IL 60208