Jeffrey Brinker


Phone: (505)-272-7627

Physical Address

Room 3058
Centennial Engineering Center

Photo: true

Distinguished Professor Emeritus

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Research Group Website
Curriculum Vitae


Ph.D. Rutgers University Ceramic Science and Engineering.

M.S. Rutgers University Ceramic Science and Engineering.

B.S. Rutgers University Ceramic Science and Engineering.


Brinker Keynote Speaker

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.

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.

Professional Experience

  • 2008 Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering and Molecular Genetics and Microbiology • University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM.
  • 2006 - Present: Regents' Professor of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering and Molecular Genetics and Microbiology • University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM.
  • 1999 - 2006: Professor of Chemistry and Chemical and Nuclear Engineering • University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM.
  • 2003-2019: Laboratory Fellow, Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), Albuquerque, NM.
  • 1999-2003: Senior Scientist, Chemical Synthesis and Nanomaterials Department • Sandia National Laboratories.
  • 1991-99: Distinguished National Laboratory Professor of Chemistry and Chemical and Nuclear Engineering• University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM.
  • 1991-98: Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff, Direct Fabrication Dept • Sandia National Laboratories.
  • 1979-91: Member of the Technical Staff, Chemistry and Ceramics Department • Sandia National Laboratories.

Ongoing Research Support:

  • NIH, Cancer Nanotechnology Platform Partnerships • 9/1/2010 - 8/31/2015
    Peptide-directed Protocells and Virus-Like Particles - new nanoparticle platforms for targeted delivery of multicomponent drugs
    co-PIs: C.L. Willman, MD, UNM Cancer Center; C.J. Brinker, ChNE.
    Our proposed research addresses the full spectrum of challenges underlying nanocarriers as targeted delivery platforms for cancer therapy. It couples unique genomic insight and renowned clinical experience on Acute Lympoblastic Leukemia (ALL) with two new, powerful and versatile targeted nanoparticle delivery systems - protocells (nanoporous nanoparticle supported lipid bilayers) and virus-like particles(VLPs) - each directed with peptides identified by a high complexity VLP affinity selection technology.
  • NIEHS U19 • 10/1/2010 - 9/30/2015
    Center for Nanobiology and Predictive Toxicology
    PI: Andre Nel, MD, UCLA; C.J. Brinker, Key collaborator.
    This center will study how properties of engineered nanomaterials may lead to lung health effects by creating harmful interactions in cells and tissues that will come into contact with these materials. This will be accomplished by a multi-disciplinary team with expertise in nanomaterial science, biology, toxicology, imaging, statistics and computer science to integrate these goals into a predictive model that projects from what is happening in cells to what may happen in the lung.
  • Defense Threat Reduction Agency - DTRA • October 2008-Sept 2011
    Examining the Bio-Nano Interface: Integrating Living Cells into 3D Nanomaterials
    C.J. Brinker, PI
    This project will initiate a detailed study to determine and understand the fundamental nanomaterial and biochemical principles that govern cell-directed self-assembly to enable application of this substantial nanobioscience advancement to mammalian cells.
  • AFOSR • 12/2009 - 11/2012
    Biocompatible and Biomimetic Self-Assembly of Functional Nanostructures
    C.J. Brinker, PI
    Using the methods of cell-directed assembly (CDA) and cell-directed integration (CDI) developed in the Brinker laboratory, we propose the discovery and integration of new classes of hybrid materials and devices displaying a symbiotic relationship between the biotic and abiotic components.

    For a listing of additional research click here

Selected Publications:

  • C.E. Ashley, E.C. Carnes, G.K. Phillips, D. Padilla, P.N. Durfee, P.A. Brown, T. N. Hanna, J. Liu, B. Phillips, M.B. Carter, N.J. Carroll, X. Jiang, D.R. Dunphy, C.L. Willman, D.N. Petsev, D.G. Evans, A.N. Parikh, B. Chackerian, W Wharton, D.S. Peabody, and C.J. Brinker. The Targeted Delivery of Multicomponent Cargos to Cancer Cells via Nanoporous Particle-Supported Lipid Bilayers, Nature Materials, Accepted Feb 2011.
  • C.Y. Khripin, D. Pristinski, D.R. Dunphy, C.J. Brinker, and B.J. Kaehr, Protein-Directed Assembly of Arbitrary Three-Dimensional Nanoporous Silica, ACS Nano,5, 1401-1409 2011.
  • Z. Chen, Y.B. Jiang, D.R. Dunphy, D.P. Adams, C. Hodges, N.G. Liu, N. Zhang, G. Xomeritakis, N.R. Aluru, S.J. Gaik, H.W. Hillhouse, and C.J. Brinker, DNA translocation through an array of kinked nanopores, Nature Materials 9 (8) 667-675 Aug 2010.
  • Eric Carnes, DeAnna M Lopez, Niles P Donegan, Ambrose Cheung, Hattie Gresham, Graham Timmins, and C. Jeffrey Brinker, Confinement-induced quorum sensing of individual Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, Nature Chemical Biology, November 2009.
  • Hongyou Fan, Christopher Hartshorn, Thomas Buchheit, David Tallant, Roger Assink, Regina Simpson, Dave J. Kissel, Daniel J. Lacks, Salvatore Torquato, and C. Jeffrey Brinker, Modulus–density scaling behavior and framework architecture of nanoporous self-assembled silicas, Nature Materials, June 2007, vol. 6, p.418-423.
  • Helen K. Baca, Carlee Ashley, Eric Carnes, Deanna Lopez, Jeb Flemming, Darren Dunphy, Seema Singh, Zhu Chen, Nanguo Liu, Hongyou Fan, Gabriel P. Lopez, Susan M Brozik, Magaret Werner-Washburne, C. Jeffrey Brinker, Cell-Directed Assembly of Lipid-Silica Nanostructures Providing Extended Cell Viability. , Science, Jul 21, 2006; vol. 313, p. 337-341.
  • Yang K, Fan H, O’Brien MJ, La Fontaine S., Lopez GP, Malloy KJ, Brinker CJ, Sigmon TW, Electrical and optical properties of self-assembled, ordered gold nanocrystal/silica thin films prepared by sol-gel processing, Proceedings of the Materials Research Society Micro- and Nanosystems – Materials and Devices 872, 103-108 (2005).
  • Fan H, Yang K, Gabaldon JP, Boye DM, Sigmon TW, Malloy KJ, Brinker CJ, Self-assembly and integration of ordered, robust three-dimensional gold nanocrystal/metal oxide superlattices, Proceedings of NSTI Nanotech 2005, p. 765-768.
  • Kwoun SJ, Cairncross R, Lec RM, Shah P., Brinker C.J. , The Study of interaction of superhydrophobic (SH) materials with fluids using TSM sensors, Proceedings of the 2005 IEEE International, Frequency Control Symposium and Exposition, August 29-31, 2005; p. 78-83.

    For a comprehensive listing of Dr Brinker's publications click here

Research Interests

  • Conjugated Polymer Silica Nanocomposites.
  • Photoresponsive nanocomposite membranes for nanovalves.
  • Ion Channel Sensors.
  • Super-hydrophobic surfaces.
  • Nanostructured molecular sieve membranes.
  • Mesoporous Micro- and Nano-particles prepared by Evaporation-Induced Self Assembly within Aerosols.
  • Synthesis and Characterization of Germanium Nanocrystals.
  • Nanoporous silica composite material for corrosion inhibition of aluminum alloys.