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Triple Honor for Alumnus

Renaissance scientist Joe DeSimone 1986 has achieved what fewer than 20 people have achieved: election to three branches of National Academies.

Alumnus Joseph DeSimone 1986 is one of a select group of individuals to be elected to all three branches of the National Academies.

Dr. DeSimone has been elected to the Institute of Medicine, one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine for a U.S. scientist. His election represents the third time he has been named a member of a U. S. National Academy. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2005 and the National Academy of Sciences in 2012. Fewer than 20 people in history have achieved election to all three U.S. National Academies.

Dr. DeSimone is the Chancellor’s Eminent Professor of Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at NC State and of Chemistry at UNC-Chapel Hill. An innovative polymer chemist who made dry cleaning sustainable, he is known for his ability to apply insights in materials science to create advances in medicine, as well as other fields. He has more than 300 publications and holds more than 180 patents, which have led him to found multiple companies based on his work.

Called a “renaissance scientist” by UNC Chancellor Carol L. Folt, he successfully adapted manufacturing techniques from the computer industry to make advances in medicine, including next-generation approaches to cancer treatment and diagnosis, according to Folt.

He has made important contributions to the advancement of medicine, including developing breakthrough materials for a new, drug-eluting, bioabsorbable cardiac stent to treat heart failure.

The stent is now being commercialized by Abbott Vascular and is available in over 60 countries, according to information from UNC.

In 2005, DeSimone and his students invented a new technology to create nano- and micro-particles called PRINT® (Particle Replication In Non-wetting Templates). PRINT particles are currently being explored by DeSimone and his team for the development of next-generation vaccines.

Dr. DeSimone’s lab is also using PRINT to pursue novel cancer treatments, as well as inhalable therapeutics for multiple conditions. DeSimone founded Liquidia Technologies, Inc. in 2005 based on PRINT, and in 2012, the company announced a large, multi-year partnership with GlaxoSmithKline.

Currently, Dr. DeSimone is leading a new company, Carbon3D, which is developing a new 3D printing technology.  He is the Vice Chair of the Ursinus Board of Trustees and the parent of Ursinus graduate Philip, class of 2012.