C. Jeffrey Brinker
Brinker established the first comprehensive synthesis-structure-property relationships for solution-based inorganic materials synthesis, so-called sol-gel processing, creating a foundation for much of modern day 'bottom-up' nanoscale materials synthesis. Combining sol-gel processing with molecular self-assembly, he developed robust evaporative procedures to form highly ordered periodic mesophases. Today this 'Evaporation-induced self-assembly' process is used worldwide to create ordered porous and composite thin-film and particulate nanostructures. Mimicking the structure of natural cells, Brinker conceived of mesoporous silica nanoparticles encapsulated within supported lipid bilayers. This 'protocell' drug delivery platform synergistically combines the high drug capacity of mesoporous silica with the biocompatibility and biofunctionality of liposomes.