Milan Mrksich was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1968. He attended the University of Illinois, where he performed research under the supervision of Professor Steven Zimmerman, and received the BS degree in Chemistry in 1989. He then moved to Caltech to pursue graduate studies under the direction of Professor Peter Dervan, receiving the PhD degree in bioorganic chemistry in 1994. Dr. Mrksich was an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow with Professor George Whitesides at Harvard University for two years, and in 1996 joined the faculty of the University of Chicago as Assistant Professor of Chemistry. In 1998, he was a founding member of the Institute of Biophysical Dynamics, a campus initiative to unify research projects that spanned the physical and biological sciences and in 1999 he was promoted to Associate Professor.
The Mrksich Research Group has four programs that intersect the fields of organic chemistry, biology and materials science. One program in chemical biology uses structurally well-defined substrates as models of extracellular matrix for studies of cell adhesion, migration and differentiation. A related program takes an engineering approach to integrating cells with electronic materials, and is developing electrochemical strategies to control and read the behaviors of adherent cells. A third program is developing bio-inspired routes, based on the assembly of proteins, to give new nanostructured materials. The fourth program pursues fundamental studies of reactions that take place at the liquid-solid interface to elucidate the physical organic principles that influence interfacial reactions.
Dr. Mrksich has published 75 scientific papers and has presented over 100 invited lectures. His many honors include the Camille and Henry Dreyfus New Faculty Award, the Searle Scholar Award, the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award and the American Chemical Society Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award. He was named by the Technology Review as a Top 100 Young Innovator.
Dr. Mrksich serves on the Defense Sciences Research Council of DARPA, the Editorial Advisory Board of Langmuir, the Science and Technology Advisory Committee for Argonne National Laboratory and as a frequent consultant and advisory board member to biotechnology companies.