The dawn of the 20th century saw the birth of the airplane, the radio, and the theory of relativity three technological and scientific developments that changed the world. Now a hundred years later, nanotechnology is similarly transforming the world and holds the promise to solve some of the world s most pressing problems in areas as diverse as medicine, information technology, energy, and the environment. Nanotechnology is especially poised to make a large impact on the fields of biology and medicine. Nanomaterials are the ideal size to efficiently interact with biological structures and thus useful for both in vivo and in vitro biomedical research and medical applications. Indeed, these methods have the potential to change the way we study and treat some of the world s most debilitating diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer s disease. This article introduces the readers to the International Institute for Nanotechnology at Northwestern University and also summarizes some of the author s own work in spherical nucleic acids (SNAs), nanostructures that have shown extraordinary promise in biology and medicine.