Faculty Directory
Milan Mrksich

Vice President for Research

Henry Wade Rogers Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Professor of Chemistry

Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology


2145 Sheridan Road
Tech B492
Evanston, IL 60208-3109

847-467-0472Email Milan Mrksich


Mrksich Group


Center for Synthetic Biology


Biomedical Engineering

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Ph.D. Chemical Biology, Caltech

B.S. Chemistry, University of Illinois

Research Interests

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.

Selected Publications

     (1)             De Novo Motif for Kinase Mediated Signaling Across the Cell Membrane.  R.T. Petty and M. Mrksich.  Integrative Biology, 2011, 3, 816-822. 

    (2)              Discovery of Glycosyltransferases Using Carbohydrate Arrays and Mass Spectrometry.  L. Ban, N. Pettit, L. Li, A.D. Stuparu, L. Cai, W. Chen, W. Guan, P.W. Wang and M. Mrksich.  Nat. Chem. Biol., 2012, 8, 769-773.  

    (3)              Directing Stem Cell Fate by Controlling the Affinity and Density of Ligand-Receptor Interactions at the Biomaterials Interface.  K.A. Kilian and M. Mrksich.  Ang. Chem. Int. Ed., 2012, 51, 4891-4895. 

    (4)              Modular Assembly of Protein Building Blocks to Create Precisely-Defined MegaMolecules.  J.A. Modica, S. Skarpathiotis and M. Mrksich.  ChemBioChem, 2012, 13, 2331-2334.

     (5)             Circadian Clock NAD+ Cycle Drives Mitochondrial Oxidative Metabolism in Mice.  C.B. Peek, A.H. Affinati, K.M. Ramsey, H.-Y. Kuo, J.M. Denu, W. Yu, N.S. Chandel, L.A. Sena, B. Marcheva, Y. Kobayashi, C. Omura, D. Levine, D. Gius, C.B. Newgard, E. Goetzman, M. Mrksich and J. Bass . Science, 2013, 342, 591-

    (6)              Geometric Control of Cytoskeletal Elements:  Impact on Vimentin Intermediate Filaments.  S.H. Shabbir, M.M. Cleland, R.D. Goldman and M. Mrksich.  Biomaterials, 2014, 35, 1359-1366.  

    (7)              Profiling Deacetylase Activities in Cell Lysates with Peptide Arrays and SAMDI Mass Spectrometry.  H.-Y. Kuo, T.A. DeLuca, W.M. Miller and M. Mrksich.  Anal. Chem., 2013, 85, 10635-10642.  

     (8)             Acetyltransferase PCAF Regulates Crosstalk-Dependent Acetylation of Histone H3 by Distal Site Recognition. J.R. Kornacki, A.D. Stuparu and M. Mrksich. ACS Chemical Biology, 2015, 10, 157-164.