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DeSimone Receives NIH Pioneer Award

Dr. Joseph M. DeSimone, William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State University and Chancellor’s Eminent Professor of Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Pioneer Award, one of only 18 such honors handed out this year.

The Pioneer Award supports individual scientists of exceptional creativity who propose pioneering – and possibly transforming – approaches to major challenges in biomedical and behavioral research. Awards are for up to $500,000 per year for five years.

A recognized chemist and polymer expert, DeSimone develops groundbreaking solutions in “green” manufacturing and promising applications in gene therapy, drug delivery and medical devices.

DeSimone will use the award to develop new methods for delivering promising biological therapeutics – such as proteins, antibodies and nucleic acids – to specific locations in the body in a safe and effective fashion. Such methods and therapies could be used to treat many different diseases – including cancer, autoimmune, inflammatory, metabolic, cardiovascular, ophthalmologic and numerous infectious diseases – as well as neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and for the treatment of pain. The research will build on DeSimone’s existing work, including his invention of techniques for mass-producing “custom made” micro- and nanoparticles tailored to have specific sizes, shapes and surface properties.

DeSimone joined the NC State faculty in 1994 and the UNC-Chapel Hill faculty in 1990. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1990.

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