Dr. Joseph DeSimone, PhD, named the inaugural recipient of The Sanjiv Sam Gambhir Professorship in Translational Medicine

Joseph M. DeSimone, PhD

October 23, 2020

The Stanford Department of Radiology is proud to announce Professor Joseph M. DeSimone as the inaugural Sanjiv Sam Gambhir Professor in Translational Medicine. The professorship honors the late Sam Gambhir, MD, PhD, professor and former chair of radiology. It was established by a small circle of friends and colleagues to recognize Sam for his extraordinary leadership, his compassion as a physician, and his commitment to research and training, which has had enormous impact in the fields of radiology, imaging, and early cancer detection.

Recruited to Stanford by Dr. Gambhir who saw the enormous potential to foster new opportunities to advance human health, Dr. Joseph (Joe) M. DeSimone joined the department September 1, 2020, with a joint appointment in the Department of Chemical Engineering. He also holds a courtesy appointment in the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB).

A shining example of achievement, Joe has been described as “an igniter of innovation”. His work as a chemist and expert in polymeric materials has merged life, physical, and engineering sciences with the goal of fostering innovation in how things are made in order to improve the human condition. This has led to revolutionary discoveries and opened up entirely new fields of study. He has received international recognition as a scientist, inventor, and entrepreneur, earning major accolades including the U.S. Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award, the 2017 Heinz Award, and the Lemelson-MIT Prize. He is one of only 25 individuals elected to all three U.S. National Academies—the National Academy of Sciences, Medicine, and Engineering. In 2016, President Obama presented him with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the highest honor in the U.S. for achievement and leadership in advancing technological progress. Joe and his lab have made significant scientific breakthroughs in science and medicine including next-generation approaches to cancer treatment and diagnosis, implantable drug delivery devices, green chemistry, and most recently in 3D printing technology for medical devices tailored to an individual patient’s needs. A dedicated educator and strong advocate for bringing a broader diversity of perspectives into research, he has mentored over 80 students through PhD completion at Univ. of North Carolina and North Carolina State Univ. (his former 30-year career), half of whom were women and members of underrepresented groups in STEM.

As an avid researcher and innovator, Joe has authored over 370 scientific publications with over 42,000 citations to his work, and is a named inventor on over 200 issued patents. Additionally, he brings a unique ability to transfer novel solutions from his lab to the world through the companies he co-founded including BVS (biodegradable stent; sold to Guidant, then Abbott); Liquidia Technologies (precision medicines for pulmonary diseases; NASDAQ: LQDA); Blue Current (solid-state batteries); Advanced Chemotherapy Technologies (interventional oncology targeting pancreatic cancer); and Carbon (3D printing that is taking the industry from a prototyping-only industry to digital manufacturing). Joe co-founded Carbon in Chapel Hill in 2013 serving as the company’s CEO until being named Executive Chairman in 2019. Growing Carbon into an >400-person global company valued at ~$2.5B, it is now defining the digital revolution in manufacturing. In recognition of his entrepreneurial success, Joe was selected as the 2019 EY Entrepreneur of the Year National Overall winner. Chemical & Engineering News named Carbon their Company of the Year for 2019.

We are delighted, as we know Dr. Gambhir would also be, to have Joe be the first holder of the Gambhir Professorship, and build his future programs at Stanford energizing collaborations involving his many innovations, to offer to patients through translational medicine. Congratulations Joe, and welcome!