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DeSimone Receives Top Science Mentor Award

Dr. Joseph M. DeSimone, North Carolina State University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researcher and innovator, has received the 2010 Mentor Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The award honors association members who have mentored significant numbers of underrepresented students – such as women, minorities and persons with disabilities – toward a Ph.D. degree in the sciences. The association is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science.

DeSimone, William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at NC State and Chancellor’s Eminent Professor of Chemistry at UNC, was recognized for his dedication to advancing the diversity of doctoral-level chemists entering the workforce.

He will receive the award Feb. 19 at a ceremony at the association’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

He has mentored at least nine African-American students, one Hispanic-American student and 24 women through the completion of their Ph.D. degrees in chemistry.

Yolanda George, the association’s deputy director of education and human resources, said DeSimone’s dedication to mentorship transcended the chemical sciences, and was rooted in his belief that diversification drives innovation.

DeSimone’s current research focuses on engineering nano- and microparticles that target disease within the body, while avoiding healthy cells. Using a technique called PRINT, for “Particle Replication in Non-wetting Templates,” which was developed in his lab, researchers can fabricate particles with specific shapes, sizes, compositions and functions. The work shows promise for supporting the development of therapies for cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Among his awards and honors, DeSimone has been named one of the “100 Engineers of the Modern Era” by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and received the 2008 Lemelson-MIT Prize, dubbed the “Oscar for inventors.” He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

For more information, see the association’s announcement.

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