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C. Shad Thaxton Awarded 2009 Early Career Award

March 2010

C. Shad Thaxton, MD, PhD, assistant professor of urology at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine, was among 11 physician-scientists to receive the 2009 Early Career Award from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), receiving $375,000 over the next five years to help launch and develop innovative research programs.

During his third year of medical school, Thaxton read a Scientific American article that inspired him to seek out Northwestern University’s Chad Mirkin, PhD, a leader in the field of nanotechnology. As a student fellow in Mirkin’s lab, Thaxton developed the bio-barcode assay, an ultra sensitive protein detector using gold nanoparticles as probes. He used the technology to detect prostate specific antigen (PSA), a biomarker associated with prostate cancer. The bio-barcode detects prostate cancer recurrence more quickly than conventional PSA tests.

A member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, Thaxton is now evaluating the bio-barcode effectiveness in finding recurrent prostate cancer in clinical trials and plans to use nanotechnology in cardiovascular disease research.

(Last updated on June 21, 2013 )