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Founder of structural DNA nanotechnology field awarded medal by American Chemical Society

The American Chemical Society has awarded Nadrian Seeman its Nichols Medal for establishing the field of structural DNA nanotechnology, nearly 13 years after the Foresight Institute awarded Seeman the 1995 Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology for his “pioneering work to synthesize complex three-dimensional structures with DNA”. DNA nanotechnology has come a very long way since 1995 and is clearly one of the most promising paths to developing productive nanosystems. It is gratifying to see the wider chemistry community recognize the importance of DNA nanotechnology and of Prof. Seeman’s ground-breaking research. NYU’s press release “NYU Chemist Seeman Recognized for Founding, Establishing the Field of Structural DNA Nanotechnology

New York University Chemistry Professor Nadrian Seeman has received the American Chemical Society’s Nichols Medal for his founding and establishing the field of structural DNA nanotechnology. Created in 1902, the Nichols Medal annually recognizes outstanding contributions in the field of chemistry and is given by the society’s New York section.

Seeman, the Margaret and Herman Sokol Professor of Chemistry at NYU, founded and developed the field of DNA nanotechnology—which is now pursued by labs across the globe—more than a quarter century ago. The systems he and his colleagues have produced enable the specific organization of a variety of other chemical species, relevant to nanoelectronics, photonics, and drug design. They have also built machines that work on the nano-scale, such as a device that allows for the translation of DNA sequences, thereby serving as a factory for assembling the building blocks of new materials. The invention has the potential to develop new synthetic fibers, advance the encryption of information, and improve DNA-based computation.

Seeman has also received the Sidhu Award from the Pittsburgh Diffraction Society, a Popular Science Magazine Science and Technology Award, the Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology, a Discover Magazine Emerging Technology Award, the Tulip Award in DNA-based computing, a Nanotech Briefs Nano50 Innovator Award, the World Technology Network Award in biotechnology, and a MERIT award from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The Nichols Medal, the first award created by the American Chemical Society, includes a cash prize of $5,000.

Further discussions of DNA nanotechnology can be found in two reports (authored by yours truly with Prof. Seeman’s invaluable guidance) included in the Technology Roadmap for Productive Nanosystems as “Nucleic Acid Engineering” (report 07) and “DNA as an Aid to Self-Assembly” (report 08) in the Working Group Proceedings (210 pages, 14.6 MB PDF) section of the Roadmap.
—Jim

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