Issue Date: October 20, 2008
Lemelson-MIT Prize to Joseph DeSimone
Joseph DeSimone, Chancellor’s Eminent Professor of Chemistry at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State University, is the 2008 recipient of the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize for his inventions in green manufacturing, nanomedicine, and medical devices.
DeSimone invented an environmentally friendly manufacturing process that relies on supercritical carbon dioxide instead of water and biopersistent surfactants for the creation of fluoropolymers or high-performance plastics, such as DuPont’s Teflon.
More recently, he worked on a team that designed a polymer-based, fully bioabsorbable, drug-eluting stent, which helps keep a blocked blood vessel open after a balloon angioplasty and is absorbed by the body within 18 months.
DeSimone’s newest invention is PRINT (particle replication in nonwetting templates) technology, used to manufacture nanocarriers in medicine. His lab is also working on projects that extend beyond medicine, including potential applications for more efficient solar cells and morphable robots.
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