Joseph DeSimone, a chemistry professor at UNC and chemical engineering professor at North Carolina State University, received the 22nd Heinz Award in the category of Technology, the Economy and Employment.
“It’s an amazing statement,” DeSimone said. “Senator Heinz had some amazing values and principles that the awards recognize and for our research and our technology and our team to be recognized in this manner says a lot about what we’re doing and our approach and our values and it’s really gratifying.”
DeSimone leads a research team that works in the intersection between science, engineering and medicine. A team of 15 students, including graduate, PhD and undergraduate students from UNC and NCSU, conducts research to address societal problems including treating and curing diseases and enhancing human performance.
DeSimone said there is nothing more interesting than having students understand complex problems, relate to what is being taught in the classroom and apply it to real world problems.
“When you do new things, like taking your research and trying to apply it to societal problems, that entrepreneurial experience is really good to share with students in the classroom, letting them know that they can do it as well,” he said.