Alumnus Joseph DeSimone, will receive the Graduate Alumni Achievement Award at this year's Graduate Commencement hold today at 3 p.m. in Cassell Coliseum.

DeSimone received his doctorate from Virginia Tech in 1990. He currently holds two chaired professorships: the chancellor’s eminent professor of chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), and the William R. Kenan, Jr. professor of chemical engineering at North Carolina State University.

“As a scholar and innovator, Dr. Simone embodies the citizen-scholar model, and is a fine example of the outstanding individuals who earn graduate degrees at Virginia Tech,” said Karen P. DePauw, vice president and dean of graduate studies.

An accomplished researcher and inventor, DeSimone has published more than 240 scientific articles and has 115 patents with 120 patents pending. His projects range from bio-absorbable stents to an environmentally friendly process for the creation of high performance plastics. A leader in the carbon dioxide technology platform, DeSimone was awarded a 10-year $40 million National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center grant.

Most recently, DeSimone has focused on uniformly mass produced nanoparticles for applications in nanomedicine especially for the design of engineered drug therapies in the fight against cancer. As a result of this research initiative, UNC received a $25 million grant funded by the National Cancer Institute.

For his innovations on numerous projects, DeSimone was awarded the Lemelson-MIT Prize, which includes a $500,000 award. This prize is given to mid-career inventors dedicated to improving the world through technological invention. In 2008 the Raleigh News and Observer named DeSimone “Tar Heel of the Year.”

DeSimone received his bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Ursinus College, Collegeville, Pa., in 1986. He is married to Suzanne DeSimone and has two children, Philip and Emily.