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Professor Joe DeSimone is a Recipient of the 22nd Heinz Award

Professor Joseph DeSimoneProfessor Joe DeSimone is a recipient of the 22nd Heinz Award.

Created to honor the memory of the late U.S. Senator John Heinz, and now in its 22nd year, the Heinz Awards program recognizes “remarkable contributions in five areas of great importance to Senator Heinz: Arts and Humanities; Environment; Human Condition; Public Policy; and Technology, the Economy and Employment.” Professor DeSimone’s award is in the area of Technology, the Economy and Employment.

Image of Heinz Awad MedalThe rationale for Professor DeSimone’s selection is best explained by a Heinz Family Foundation press release:

Joseph DeSimone, Ph.D., receives the 22nd Heinz Award in the Technology, the Economy and Employment category for developing and commercializing advanced technologies in green chemistry, precision medicine, nanoparticle fabrication and 3D printing, and for his commitment to diversity in the STEM fields as a fundamental tenet of innovation.

Dr. DeSimone’s work merges life, physical and engineering sciences with the goal of fostering innovation in how things are made in order to improve the human condition. His early work in green chemistry included the invention of new polymer synthesis methods that eliminate the need for hazardous solvents when creating fluoropolymers (Teflon-like plastics) and in applications such as dry cleaning, microelectronics and other coatings.

Dr. DeSimone has pushed the potential of nanomedicine with the invention of PRINT, a soft lithographic technique that fabricates tiny nanoparticles with precise control over shape, size, composition and surface chemistry. PRINT holds great potential for the delivery of vaccines to prevent diseases such as malaria, dengue and tuberculosis, as well as for cancer therapeutics. To bring the technology to the private sector, Dr. DeSimone co-founded Liquidia Technologies, which is working on next-generation inhalable vaccines and new medicines for treatment of pulmonary diseases. Liquidia was the first privately held biotech company to receive an equity investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Most recently, Dr. DeSimone is noted for the development of CLIP (Continuous Liquid Interface Production), a new approach that is moving 3D printing into large-scale 3D manufacturing for the first time. Dr. DeSimone founded Carbon, Inc., to bring these technologies to the marketplace and its partners include adidas, GE, Google and BMW.

Dr. DeSimone’s achievements as a polymer scientist and entrepreneur, along with his leadership in convergence research, a new model integrating life, physical and engineering sciences to achieve innovations, is positively impacting human life in the areas of health, environment, energy and the economy.

During an interview after the announcement, DeSimone said, “It is truly humbling to be recognized with a Heinz Award.” “By pursuing research paths at the interface of diverse disciplines, my students, coworkers and I have developed new technologies that, over time, have influenced areas including manufacturing and medicine. This award is a testament not just to our discoveries, but to our approach to research — bringing together people with diverse backgrounds and expertise to solve difficult scientific challenges, ultimately to create a positive impact in the world.”

Professor DeSimone is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at NCSU, and Chancellor’s Eminent Professor of Chemistry at UNC-CH. He has published more than 350 scientific articles, and holds nearly 200 patents. He’s also one of very few people who are members of the National Academy of Science, the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine.

Congratulations Professor DeSimone!