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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Joseph DeSimone named recipient of 22nd Heinz Award

Joseph DeSimone

Joseph DeSimone, the Chancellor’s Eminent Professor of Chemistry in the UNC College of Arts & Sciences and the William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at N.C. State University, has been named the recipient of the 22nd Heinz Award in the technology, the economy and employment category.

Awarded by the Heinz Family Foundation, the honor recognizes the extraordinary achievements of individuals in the arts and humanities; environment; human condition; public policy; and technology, the economy and employment.

DeSimone was selected because of his achievements in developing and commercializing advanced technologies in green chemistry, nanoparticle fabrication, precision medicine and 3-D printing. The award also recognizes his leadership in convergence research, a new model that integrates life, physical and engineering sciences to achieve innovations that positively impact human life in the areas of health, environment, energy and the economy.

“Dr. DeSimone’s achievements as a polymer scientist and entrepreneur leading to singular breakthroughs in areas such as 3-D printing, nanomedicine and green chemistry are many, and the positive effects on how we live, create, work and treat our planet are only just beginning to be seen,” said Teresa Heinz, chairman of the Heinz Family Foundation. “We honor him with the Heinz Award in Technology, the Economy and Employment not only for these accomplishments, but also for his ability to work across the traditional boundaries of scientific discipline and for taking knowledge gained out of the laboratory and into the places where it can have a positive impact.”

During his nearly three-decade career, DeSimone’s innovations have ranged from creating environmentally safe processes to make everyday materials, such as detergents, to engineering medical cures on the nano-level. He has more than 350 publications and holds nearly 200 patents, which have also led him to found multiple companies based on his work.

DeSimone’s most recent work has been in the area of advanced manufacturing, where his technology – known as Continuous Liquid Interface Production, or CLIP – is used to reimagine 3-D printing with his company Carbon. He is currently on sabbatical leave to lead that company, which is using CLIP technology to fabricate objects significantly faster than current state-of-the-art 3-D printers.

“It is truly humbling to be recognized with a Heinz Award,” DeSimone said. “By pursuing research paths at the interface of diverse disciplines, my students, coworkers and I have developed new technologies that, over time, have influenced areas including manufacturing and medicine. This award is a testament not just
to our discoveries, but to our approach to research – bringing together people with diverse backgrounds and expertise to solve difficult scientific challenges, ultimately to create a positive impact in
the world.”