Shad Thaxton

Dr. Colby Shad Thaxton graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a BA in environmental biology (1998, Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, with Distinction). He earned his MD and PhD (IBiS) from Northwestern University in 2004 (Alpha Omega Alpha) and 2007, respectively.

Dr. Thaxton’s graduate work was completed under the mentorship of Chad A. Mirkin, professor of chemistry.  In the Mirkin group, Dr. Thaxton was the co-inventor of the nanoparticle-based bio-barcode bio-molecule detection platform (Science, 2003) and initiated studies evaluating the use of gold nanoparticles as therapeutics (Science, 2006). 

Dr. Thaxton’s residency training in general surgery and urology was performed at Northwestern prior to joining the Department of Urology as an assistant professor and full-time research faculty member in 2008. Dr. Thaxton's research efforts focus on fabricating new nanomaterials and translational nanotechnology.  From the standpoint of new materials, and in collaborating with Professor Mirkin, Dr. Thaxton has utilized the gold nanoparticle platform to develop potential therapeutic agents for atherosclerosis.  Translationally, work continues on bringing ultra-sensitive PSA (prostate-specific antigent) detection to the clinic, and with regard to utilizing nucleic acid functionalized gold nanoparticles as new cancer therapies. 

Most recently, Dr. Thaxton has been honored with the following awards:  2009 Bioscience Technology Researcher of the Year; MIT TR35 Innovator, MIT Technology Review; and an HHMI Early Physician-Scientist Award. 


Content by Shad Thaxton


Growing up, I used to watch the G.I. Joe cartoon series. At the end of every episode was a short announcement by a G.I. Joe hero on any number of topics, ranging from avoiding old refrigerators as hiding places to promoting sportsmanship on the athletic field.  Each would end with one of the characters saying, “Now we know!” followed by the G.I. Joe hero with “And knowing is half the battle.”