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Personal profile

Research Interests

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.

Education/Academic qualification

Chemical Biology, PhD, California Institute of Technology

… → 1994

Chemistry, BS, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

… → 1989

Research interests

  • Bio-inspired nanostructured materials and biochips
  • Biomaterials and interfaces
  • Cell adhesion and migration
  • Electroactive interfaces
  • Physical organic chemistry of interfacial reactions

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Milan Mrksich is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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Self assembled monolayers Chemical Compounds
Mass spectrometry Chemical Compounds
Peptides Chemical Compounds
Ligands Chemical Compounds
Substrates Chemical Compounds
Proteins Engineering & Materials Science
Cell adhesion Chemical Compounds
Monolayers Chemical Compounds

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Grants 2008 2024

Electron microscopes
Transmission electron microscopy
Photographic accessories
Molecular structure
Electromagnetic waves

Research Output 1989 2020

Using Peptide Arrays to Profile Phosphatase Activity in Cell Lysates

Szymczak, L. C., Sykora, D. J. & Mrksich, M., Jan 2 2020, In : Chemistry - A European Journal. 26, 1, p. 165-170 6 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases
1 Citation (Scopus)

A cell-free biosynthesis platform for modular construction of protein glycosylation pathways

Kightlinger, W., Duncker, K. E., Ramesh, A., Thames, A. H., Natarajan, A., Stark, J. C., Yang, A., Lin, L., Mrksich, M., DeLisa, M. P. & Jewett, M. C., Dec 1 2019, In : Nature communications. 10, 1, 5404.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Modular construction
3 Citations (Scopus)

Exploration of the nanomedicine-design space with high-throughput screening and machine learning

Yamankurt, G., Berns, E. J., Xue, A., Lee, A., Bagheri, N., Mrksich, M. & Mirkin, C. A., Apr 1 2019, In : Nature Biomedical Engineering. 3, 4, p. 318-327 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Medical nanotechnology
Nucleic acids
Nucleic Acids
Learning systems

High-throughput mapping of CoA metabolites by SAMDI-MS to optimize the cell-free biosynthesis of HMG-CoA

O’Kane, P. T., Dudley, Q. M., McMillan, A. K., Jewett, M. C. & Mrksich, M., Jun 5 2019, In : Science Advances. 5, 6, eaaw9180.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access

Label-free assay of protein tyrosine phosphatase activity in single cells

Moully, E. H., Berns, E. J. & Mrksich, M., Jan 1 2019, (Accepted/In press) In : Analytical Chemistry.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases
Self assembled monolayers
Mass spectrometry