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William H. Nichols Distinguished Symposium,
Medal Award Presentation & Dinner
March 24, 2017
114 Years: 
1903 - 2017
Prof. Mirkin Click to enlarge.
Chad A. Mirkin


Professor Chad A. Mirkin

Northwestern University
Crowne Plaza Hotel
White Plains, NY

[ Prof. Mirkin's Bio ]
[ Read the History of the Nichols Award ]
[ Summary of Previous Medalists]






2017 Nichols Medalist

Professor Chad A. Mirkin

Professor of Chemistry

Northwestern University

1:00 p.m.           Welcome


Professor Brian R. Gibney,   2017 Chair, ACS New York Section, Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center - CUNY


1:05 p.m.           Opening of the Distinguished Symposium


Professor Joseph M. Serafin,   2017 Chair-Elect, ACS New York Section, St. John's University


1:15 p.m.           Dynamic Droplets: Biosensors from Changes in Orientation and Morphology of Complex Liquids


Professor Timothy M. Swager   Massachusetts Institute of Technology

This lecture will focus on the design of systems wherein reconfiguration of complex liquid emulsions (droplets) can be triggered chemically or biochemically. The utility of these methods is to generate new transduction mechanisms by which chemical and biological sensors can be developed. Complex liquid droplets behave as optical lens systems and small changes in surface tensions can change focal lengths or cause systems to switch between optically transmissive or scattering states. Central to this scheme is that the fluids in the droplets have different densities and hence are aligned by the earth’s gravity. The induced optical changes can be triggered with chemical, photochemical, or biochemical stimuli and thereby create new generations of sensors. Demonstrations of these methods for the detection of enzyme concentrations and pathogens will be presented.



2:00 p.m.           Molecular Imaging of Transition Metal Signaling in the Brain and Beyond


Professor Christopher J. ChangUniversity of California, Berkeley

Metals are essential for all forms of life, and the traditional view of this bioinorganic chemistry is that mobile fluxes of alkali and alkaline earth metals like sodium, potassium, and calcium are used as dynamic signals and transition metals like copper and iron must be buried and protected as static metabolic cofactors to prevent oxidative stress. We have identified a new paradigm of transition metal signaling, using copper as a primary example to show how such elements can influence neural circuitry and regulate fundamental behaviors such as eating and sleeping.


2:45 p.m.           Shape-Shifting Drug Carriers for Targeting Cytotoxins and Immunotherapeutics to Cancer



Professor Nathan C. Gianneschi   University of California, San Diego

Nanoparticle targeting strategies have largely relied on the use of surface conjugated ligands designed to bind overexpressed cell-membrane receptors associated with a given cell-type. We envisioned a targeting strategy that would lead to an active accumulation of nanoparticles by virtue of a supramolecular assembly event specific to tumor tissue, occurring in response to a specific signal. For this purpose, we utilize enzymes as stimuli, rather than other recognition events, because they are uniquely capable of propagating a signal via catalytic amplification. We will describe the preparation of highly functionalized polymer scaffolds utilizing ring opening metathesis polymerization, their development as in vivo probes and their utility as a multimodal imaging platform and as drug carriers capable of targeting tissue. Furthermore, we will describe new methods and approaches for characterizing this kind of dynamic material at the nanoscale, including by liquid cell transmission electron microscopy and combined isotopic and optical nanoscopy.



3:30 p.m.           Coffee Break



4:00 p.m.           Metal-oxos in Chemistry and Biology


Professor Harry B. Gray   California Institute of Technology

The dianionic oxo ligand occupies a very special place in coordination chemistry, owing to its ability to stabilize high oxidation states of metals. The ligand field theory of multiple bonding in metal-oxos was published in two papers in the first volume of Inorganic Chemistry. The theory, which accounts for the ground state electronic structures and spectroscopic properties of these complexes, predicts that an “oxo wall” separates Fe-Ru-Os and Co-Rh-Ir in the periodic table. I will review this early work, then discuss the roles metal-oxos play in two of the most important chemical reactions on planet Earth, hydrocarbon oxygenation catalyzed by cytochrome P450, and solar-driven water oxidation catalyzed by photosystem-II.


4:45 p.m.           Unlocking the Potential of Spherical Nucleic Acids in Biology and Medicine



Professor Chad A. Mirkin,   Northwestern University

Nichols Medalist

A fundamental tenet of nanotechnology is that bulk materials, when miniaturized, exhibit new and interesting chemical and physical properties. These properties often positively impact the development of new technologies, especially in the areas of biology and medicine where frontier advances require rapid changes in how living systems are probed and regulated. Spherical nucleic acids (SNAs), nanostructures typically made by chemically templating short strands of DNA or RNA on the surface of a particle, display extraordinary architecture-dependent properties. Unlike conventional nucleic acids, SNAs can rapidly enter cells without the need for transfection agents, and they can be utilized as novel intracellular probes and efficacious agents for regulating gene expression and immune system response. Consequently, SNAs constitute an entire new class of therapeutics that are being utilized to attack diseases and disorders, including autoimmune diseases and many forms of cancer, at their genetic roots.



5:45 p.m.           Social Hour



6:45 p.m.           William H. Nichols Medal Award Dinner
                Professor Harry B. Gray of the California Institute of Technology will introduce the 2017 Medalist

Message from 2019 Chair
Dr. Justyna Widera-Kalinowska

2019 Board Meeting Dates


Archive of Back Issues

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NY Section ACS Speakers Bureau