Photo: Ian Momsen
Technology, the Economy & Employment
22nd Heinz Awards - 2017
Joseph DeSimone, Ph.D., received the 22nd Heinz Award in the Technology, the Economy and Employment category for developing and commercializing advanced technologies in green chemistry, precision medicine, nanoparticle fabrication and 3D printing, and for his commitment to diversity in the STEM fields as a fundamental tenet of innovation.
Dr. DeSimone’s work merges life, physical and engineering sciences with the goal of fostering innovation in how things are made in order to improve the human condition. His early work in green chemistry included the invention of new polymer synthesis methods that eliminate the need for hazardous solvents when creating fluoropolymers (Teflon-like plastics) and in applications such as dry cleaning, microelectronics and other industrial coatings.
Dr. DeSimone has pushed the potential of nanomedicine with the invention of PRINT, a soft lithographic technique that fabricates tiny nanoparticles with precise control over shape, size, composition and surface chemistry. PRINT holds great potential for the delivery of vaccines to prevent diseases such as malaria, dengue and tuberculosis, as well as for cancer therapeutics. To bring the technology to the private sector, Dr. DeSimone co-founded Liquidia Technologies, which is working on next-generation inhalable vaccines and new medicines for treatment of pulmonary diseases. Liquidia was the first privately held biotech company to receive an equity investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Most recently, Dr. DeSimone is noted for the development of CLIP (Continuous Liquid Interface Production), a new approach that is moving 3D printing into large-scale 3D manufacturing for the first time. Dr. DeSimone founded Carbon, Inc., to bring these technologies to the marketplace and its partners include adidas, GE, Google and BMW.
Dr. DeSimone’s achievements as a polymer scientist and entrepreneur, along with his leadership in convergence research, a new model integrating life, physical and engineering sciences to achieve innovations, is positively impacting human life in the areas of health, environment, energy and the economy.
Note: This profile was written at the time of the awards’ presentation.