Dr. Joseph DeSimone has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), one of the highest honors that a U.S. scientist or engineer can receive. DeSimone is William R. Kenan Jr. 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.
DeSimone is one of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates from 14 countries elected into the academy. He is the 10th current NC State faculty member to be elected to NAS, a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to advancing science and technology and their use for the public good.
With the new class of members announced by the academy today, there are 2,152 active members and 430 foreign associates. The academy was established by Congress in 1863 as an official adviser to the federal government, upon request, in any matter of science or technology. Candidates for membership can only be formally nominated by academy members.
DeSimone has over 280 publications and holds more than 130 patents. His work is currently focused in the area of nanomedicine. In 2004 DeSimone and his students at UNC and N.C. State invented a new technology to create nanoparticles called PRINT (Particle Replication In Non-wetting Templates). With PRINT, DeSimone and his team are the first to successfully adapt manufacturing techniques from the computer industry to make advances in medicine. PRINT enables the creation tailor-made nanoparticles with precise control over properties such as size, shape, flexibility and chemistry. PRINT particles can be used for a wide range of applications, including improved approaches to cancer treatment and diagnosis.
His current projects also include developing a nanoparticle vaccine for prostate cancer and creating particles that mimic red blood cells. DeSimone co-founded Liquidia Technologies, a Triangle-based nanotechnology company, to further develop the PRINT technology. Liquidia currently has its first product – a nanoparticle flu vaccine – in clinical trials.
In 2005, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, also a private, independent nonprofit that provides engineering leadership in service to the nation. That same year, he was also elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.