C. Jeffrey Brinker Distinguished and Regent’s Professor, Emeritus

Dr. Brinker pioneered sol-gel-science and materials synthesis from soluble molecular precursors. He combined sol-gel processing with molecular self-assembly to create new classes of nanoscale materials for applications in energy and human health.

Dr. Brinker is currently one of two Sandia National Laboratory Fellows (the highest technical position at Sandia) and Distinguished and Regent’s Professor at the University of New Mexico (the highest honors bestowed upon UNM faculty) with joint appointments in the departments of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, and the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Curriculum Vitae (updated July 2019)

Major Accomplishments

  • Dr. Brinker initiated the first fundamental and systematic studies of chemical processing of ceramics via sol-gel techniques leading ultimately to the publication of Sol-Gel Science - the Physics and Chemistry of Sol-Gel Processing in 1990 still considered to be the "Bible" of the field.

  • During this same period Brinker actively engaged the participation of chemists in molecular-based materials synthesis creating the very successful MRS symposium series "Better Ceramics Through Chemistry. This series provide a forum and served as a primary basis for today's burgeoning field of nanomaterials science.

  • In the mid 1990's, Brinker in collaboration with Professor Doug Smith and UNM graduate students developed a new chemical-based process to make aerogels, the world's lightest solids, obviating the need for energy intensive supercritical processing.

  • In 1997, Dr. Brinker's group published their pioneering work on evaporation induced self-assembly (EISA) of ordered 'mesoporous' silica films; the first combination of controlled sol-gel chemistry with molecular self-assembly, enabling rapid, continuous processing and precise structural control of self-assembled nanoscale films. (Lu, Nature 1997).

  • Since 2000, Brinker’s group published eleven additional Nature and Science articles documenting elegant self-assembly approaches to create porous and composite nanoscale materials in thin film and particulate forms, winning the Ernest O. Lawrence Memorial Award from the Department of Energy (2002) and
    the Materials Research Society MRS Medal (2003). In 2002 Brinker was elected into the US National Academy of Engineering.

  • Through co-self-assembly of photosensitive and inorganic moieties, Brinker and students created optically patternable and adjustable nanostructures and the first switchable molecular valve assembled within a nanopore.

  • In 2004 Brinker and former student H.Y. Fan reported the self-assembly of metallic nanoparticles into ordered robust silica matrices and the integration of these nanoparticle arrays into device architectures allowing for example the first measurement of current-voltage scaling in well-defined 3D array of Coulomb islands (Science 2004).

  • Recently, Brinker reported on using living cells to direct the formation of novel nano/bio interfaces maintaining cell viability under extreme conditions and serving to differentiate cellular behavior by virtue of nanoconfinement. This system provides a useful platform to perform microbial experiments at the scale of the microbes themselves and thus to understand biology at the level of the individual organism.

  • Since 2010, Brinker has developed a revolutionary new class of targeted nanocarriers for treatment of cancer and rare and infectious disease. The nanocarrier termed a protocell consists of a high surface area (>1000 m2/g) nanoporous silica nanoparticle core, loaded with drugs, and encapsulated within a cell membrane like supported lipid bilayer.

  • This protocell construct combines synergistically, properties of nanoporous particle and liposomal delivery agents to simultaneously address multiple challenges associated with targeted drug delivery to cancer.

  • Protocells, when modified with a targeting peptide that binds to human liver cancer (HCC) with a 10,000-fold greater affinity for HCC than for normal human hepatocytes, endothelial cells, and immune cells.

  • The protocell technology promises to revolutionize the field of targeted drug delivery.

  • In 2015, Brinker was elected into the U.S. National Academy of Inventors

  • Since 2012, Brinker and former PhD student, UNM Research Professor Ying-Bing Jiang, have combined evaporation-induced self-assembly with atomic layer deposition and plasma processing to make new classes of ultra-thin membranes for liquid and gas separation applications.

Curriculum Vitae & Bio-sketches

Curriculum Vitae (updated July 2019)
NSF Bio-sketch
NIH Bio-sketch