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Joseph DeSimone, PhD, was awarded the 2012 Watson Chubb Award for Innovation from the Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society. The award honors creativity among scientists and engineers.

Dr. DeSimone, Joseph DeSimone, Chancellor’s Eminent Professor of Chemistry at UNC, William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at NCSU, UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center member, Director of the Institute for Advanced Materials and the Institute for Nanomedicine at UNC, and Co-Director of the Carolina Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence, was selected because of his work adapting lithographic techniques from the computer industry to create a new technology for fabricating precisely defined micro- and nanoparticles for applications that include new vaccines and therapies.

In the following interview with American Scientist Contributing Editor Cathy Clabby, Dr. DeSimone discusses his career as as scientist, innovator and entrepreneur; the value of cross-disciplinary research; moving innovation from the lab to society; the value of a diverse research team; his collaboration with the Gates Foundation and the challenges to future innovation.