JOSEPH DESIMONE, the Sanjiv Sam Gambhir Professor in Translational Medicine and professor of chemical engineering, has been named the recipient of the 2019-20 Harvey Prize in science and technology in recognition of contributions in materials science, chemistry, polymer science and technology, nanomedicine, and 3D printing.
The Harvey Prize, the highest honor of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, recognizes breakthroughs in research that benefit humanity. The prize administrators said DeSimone’s work is “a model for combining basic scientific discoveries with developments of industrial technologies that have a significant influence.”
“It is incredibly humbling to be selected for the Harvey Prize,” said DeSimone. “I have been fortunate in my career to work with brilliant students and colleagues to make advances in science and technology toward improving the human condition, and this is a tremendous honor and testament to our work together.”
DeSimone, who joined the Stanford faculty in September, holds faculty appointments in the Department of Radiology, the Department of Chemical Engineering and, by courtesy, the Graduate School of Business. He previously held a joint appointment in chemistry and chemical engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University.
An author of more than 350 scientific articles and an inventor on more than 200 issued patents, DeSimone is known for advances rooted in polymer science that have spawned new technologies and areas of research, as well as for translating discoveries made in his laboratory to the marketplace.
In the 1990s, he and students invented an environmentally friendly process for synthesizing high-performance plastics without the use of hazardous solvents. In 2004, DeSimone and his team invented a breakthrough nanoparticle fabrication process, leading to the launch of multiple medical products in clinical trials. In 2015, he and colleagues reported a breakthrough advance in polymer 3D printing, which led DeSimone to co-found Carbon, a company whose technology has enabled cutting-edge products in such industries as footwear, dental, medical, automotive and aerospace.
DeSimone is one of only 25 people elected to all three branches of the U.S. national academies (Sciences, Engineering and Medicine). In 2016, President Obama presented him with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.
DeSimone will receive the prize at the Technion in Haifa, Israel, in June if pandemic conditions permit.