Joseph M. DeSimone (born May 16, 1964) is an American chemist, inventor and entrepreneur, best known as the 2008 recipient of the $500,000 Lemelson–MIT Prize and as the co-founder and CEO of Carbon, an American technology company.
He is the Chancellor's Eminent Professor of Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State University and of Chemistry at UNC. DeSimone is also an adjunct member at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
DeSimone has published over 300 scientific articles and has over 150 issued patents in his name with over 80 patents pending.
Joseph DeSimone received his BS in Chemistry in 1986 from Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania and his Ph.D. in Chemistry in 1990 from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.
DeSimone is a member of the National Academy of Medicine (2014), National Academy of Sciences (2012), and the National Academy of Engineering (2005), and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2005).
He had developed an environmentally friendly manufacturing process that relies on supercritical carbon dioxide instead of water and bio-persistent surfactants for the creation of fluoropolymers or high-performance plastics, such as Teflon. In 2002, DeSimone, along with Dr. Richard Stack, a cardiologist at Duke University, co-founded Bioabsorbable Vascular Solutions (BVS) to commercialize a fully bioabsorbable, drug-eluting stent. BVS was acquired by Guidant in 2003, being evaluated in a series of international clinical trials for the treatment of coronary artery disease.
DeSimone’s research is heavily focused on learning how to bring the precision, uniformity and mass production techniques associated with the fabrication of nanoscale features found in the microelectronics industry to the nanomedicine field for the fabrication and delivery of vaccines and therapeutics for the treatment and prevention of diseases. Developed in the DeSimone Lab, the PRINT technology (Particle Replication in Non-Wetting Templates) is central to the group's work.
DeSimone also founded Liquidia Technologies in 2004. DeSimone’s laboratory and the PRINT technology became a foundation for the Carolina Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence funded by the National Cancer Institute.
Currently, DeSimone is on sabbatical leave from the University of North Carolina and is the co-founder and CEO of American technology company and manufacturer Carbon, which develops printers with the Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP) technology.
Awards and honors
He has received the 2015 Kabiller Prize in Nanoscience and Nanomedicine; the 2014 IRI Medal; the 2014 American Chemical Society Kathryn C. Hach Award for Entrepreneurial Success; the 2012 Walston Chubb Award for Innovation, presented by Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, to honor and promote creativity in science and engineering; the 2010 AAAS Mentor Award in recognition of his efforts to advance diversity in the chemistry PhD workforce; the 2009 NIH Director's Pioneer Award; the 2009 North Carolina Award, the highest honor the State of North Carolina can bestow to recognize notable achievements of North Carolinians in the fields of Literature, Science, the Fine Arts and Public Service; the 2008 Tar Heel of the Year by the Raleigh News & Observer; the 2007 Collaboration Success Award from the Council for Chemical Research; the 2005 American Chemical Society Award for Creative Invention; the 2002 John Scott Award presented by the Board of Directors of City Trusts, Philadelphia, given to "the most deserving" men and women whose inventions have contributed in some outstanding way to the "comfort, welfare and happiness" of mankind; the 2002 Engineering Excellence Award by DuPont; the 2002 Wallace H. Carothers Award from the Delaware Section of the American Chemical Society; and the 2000 Oliver Max Gardner Award from the University of North Carolina.
DeSimone was awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by President Barack Obama at the White House on May 2016.