about Jeff brinker

c. jeffrey brinker

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 four 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 Cancer Research and Treatment Center.

C. Jeffrey Brinker Master CV.

C. Jeffrey Brinker NIH Biosketch.

C. Jeffrey Brinker NSF Biosketch.

Find Dr. Brinker on Google Scholar.

major accomplishments


Dr. Brinker initiated the first fundamental and systematic studies of chemical processing of ceramics via sol-gel techniques.


During this same period Brinker actively engaged the participation of chemists in molecular-based materials synthesis, providing 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 process to make aerogels, the world’s lightest solids, obviating the need for 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 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.



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.


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.


research foundations

How did i get here?

Dr. Brinker is one of the pioneers of Sol-Gel Science. This slide shows the major research foci of his career.



sol-gel science

Sol-Gel Science: The Physics & Chemistry of Sol-Gel Processing

“Perhaps it's trite to say this, but Brinker and Scherer's Sol Gel Science is "the" indispensible desktop reference for the sol-gel chemist. The layout of the book takes the reader through the entire sol-gel formation process, from reaction to casting to drying, curing and other post-modificiations, with a chapter devoted to each step - permitting this book either to be read cover-to-cover for the interested newcomer or as a text for a course in sol-gel science."

Book Review, Amazon.com

By C. Jeffrey Brinker and George W. Scherer (Hardcover - April 28, 1990). 908 pp
ISBN 0-12-134970-5
Academic Press, Inc.
1250 Sixth Avenue
San Diego, CA  92101


Find Jeff Brinker on Google Books