Joe DeSimone, PhD
While bringing the best and brightest researchers to UNC is fundamental to achieving our goals, keeping our best is equally important. The University Cancer Research Fund has been invaluable in our retaining key faculty, none more so than Dr. Joseph DeSimone, William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, and director of the UNC Institute for Advanced Materials, Nanoscience, and Technology.
DeSimone is a nationally recognized and highly acclaimed chemistry and materials science researcher, whose discoveries have led to more than 100 patents and the founding of several companies. His ground-breaking research in developing novel ways to create nanoparticles has resulted in the founding of a UNC spin-off company located in the Research Triangle. Potential use of this nanotechnology process in delivering targeted cancer therapy and imaging helped UNC become one of eight Centers of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence in the country, joining the likes of Cal Tech, Harvard/MIT, and Stanford. Application of nanotechnology to the delivery of cancer drugs, including both standard chemo-therapy and new biologic therapies, holds outstanding promise for the next generation of cancer treatment that not only works more effectively but also with fewer side effects. This field of nanomedicine, which melds the physical and biologic sciences to improve patient outcomes, will be a major focus of the UCRF.
In 2008, Dr. DeSimone, Chancellor's Eminent Professor of Chemistry and co-principal investigator of UNC Lineberger's Carolina Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence, was honored as Tar Heel of the Year by the News & Observer.
DeSimone's outstanding research and entrepreneurship has made him a recruiting target for the nation's top institutions, especially those backed by large private endowments. Losing DeSimone would have been a severe setback for UNC's plans to become a premier institution and leader in cancer nanomedicine. UCRF funding, in partnership with the College of Arts and Sciences and other University units, will provide the resources to Dr. DeSimone and his colleagues to help build a cancer nanomedicine research enterprise that will lead the nation.