Joseph M. DeSimone is the Sanjiv Sam Gambhir Professor of Translational Medicine and Chemical Engineering at Stanford University. He holds appointments in the Departments of Radiology and Chemical Engineering with courtesy appointments in the Department of Chemistry and in Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

The DeSimone laboratory's research efforts are focused on developing innovative, interdisciplinary solutions to complex problems centered around advanced polymer 3D fabrication methods. In Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, the lab is pursuing new capabilities in digital 3D printing, as well as the synthesis of new polymers for use in advanced additive technologies. In Translational Medicine, research is focused on exploiting 3D digital fabrication tools to engineer new vaccine platforms, enhanced drug delivery approaches, and improved medical devices for numerous conditions, with a current major focus in pediatrics. Complementing these research areas, the DeSimone group has a third focus in Entrepreneurship, Digital Transformation, and Manufacturing.

Before joining Stanford in 2020, DeSimone was a professor of chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and of chemical engineering at North Carolina State University. He is also Co-founder, Board Chair, and former CEO (2014 - 2019) of the additive manufacturing company, Carbon. DeSimone is responsible for numerous breakthroughs in his career in areas including green chemistry, medical devices, nanomedicine, and 3D printing. He has published over 350 scientific articles and is a named inventor on over 200 issued patents. Additionally, he has mentored 80 students through Ph.D. completion in his career, half of whom are women and members of underrepresented groups in STEM.

In 2016 DeSimone was recognized by President Barack Obama with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the highest U.S. honor for achievement and leadership in advancing technological progress. He has received numerous other major awards in his career, including the U.S. Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award (1997); the American Chemical Society Award for Creative Invention (2005); the Lemelson-MIT Prize (2008); the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award (2009); the AAAS Mentor Award (2010); the Heinz Award for Technology, the Economy and Employment (2017); the Wilhelm Exner Medal (2019); the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2019 U.S. Overall National Winner); and the Harvey Prize in Science and Technology (2020). He is one of only 25 individuals elected to all three branches of the U.S. National Academies (Sciences, Medicine, Engineering). DeSimone received his B.S. in Chemistry in 1986 from Ursinus College and his Ph.D. in Chemistry in 1990 from Virginia Tech.

Academic Appointments

2023-24 Courses

Stanford Advisees

All Publications

  • Single-digit-micrometer-resolution continuous liquid interface production. Science advances Hsiao, K., Lee, B. J., Samuelsen, T., Lipkowitz, G., Kronenfeld, J. M., Ilyn, D., Shih, A., Dulay, M. T., Tate, L., Shaqfeh, E. S., DeSimone, J. M. 2022; 8 (46): eabq2846


    To date, a compromise between resolution and print speed has rendered most high-resolution additive manufacturing technologies unscalable with limited applications. By combining a reduction lens optics system for single-digit-micrometer resolution, an in-line camera system for contrast-based sharpness optimization, and continuous liquid interface production (CLIP) technology for high scalability, we introduce a single-digit-micrometer-resolution CLIP-based 3D printer that can create millimeter-scale 3D prints with single-digit-micrometer-resolution features in just a few minutes. A simulation model is developed in parallel to probe the fundamental governing principles in optics, chemical kinetics, and mass transport in the 3D printing process. A print strategy with tunable parameters informed by the simulation model is adopted to achieve both the optimal resolution and the maximum print speed. Together, the high-resolution 3D CLIP printer has opened the door to various applications including, but not limited to, biomedical, MEMS, and microelectronics.

    View details for DOI 10.1126/sciadv.abq2846

    View details for PubMedID 36383664

  • 3D-Printed Microarray Patches for Transdermal Applications JACS AU Rajesh, N. U., Coates, I., Driskill, M. M., Dulay, M. T., Hsiao, K., Ilyin, D., Jacobson, G. B., Kwak, J., Lawrence, M., Perry, J., Shea, C. O., Tian, S., DeSimone, J. M. 2022
  • Injection continuous liquid interface production of 3D objects. Science advances Lipkowitz, G., Samuelsen, T., Hsiao, K., Lee, B., Dulay, M. T., Coates, I., Lin, H., Pan, W., Toth, G., Tate, L., Shaqfeh, E. S., DeSimone, J. M. 2022; 8 (39): eabq3917


    In additive manufacturing, it is imperative to increase print speeds, use higher-viscosity resins, and print with multiple different resins simultaneously. To this end, we introduce a previously unexplored ultraviolet-based photopolymerization three-dimensional printing process. The method exploits a continuous liquid interface-the dead zone-mechanically fed with resin at elevated pressures through microfluidic channels dynamically created and integral to the growing part. Through this mass transport control, injection continuous liquid interface production, or iCLIP, can accelerate printing speeds to 5- to 10-fold over current methods such as CLIP, can use resins an order of magnitude more viscous than CLIP, and can readily pattern a single heterogeneous object with different resins in all Cartesian coordinates. We characterize the process parameters governing iCLIP and demonstrate use cases for rapidly printing carbon nanotube-filled composites, multimaterial features with length scales spanning several orders of magnitude, and lattices with tunable moduli and energy absorption.

    View details for DOI 10.1126/sciadv.abq3917

    View details for PubMedID 36170357

  • Characterization of a 30 m pixel size CLIP-based 3D printer and its enhancement through dynamic printing optimization. Additive manufacturing Lee, B. J., Hsiao, K., Lipkowitz, G., Samuelsen, T., Tate, L., DeSimone, J. M. 2022; 55


    Resolving microscopic and complex 3D polymeric structures while maintaining high print speeds in additive manufacturing has been challenging. To achieve print precision at micrometer length scales for polymeric materials, most 3D printing technologies utilize the serial voxel printing approach that has a relatively slow print speed. Here, a 30-m-resolution continuous liquid interface production (CLIP)-based 3D printing system for printing polymeric microstructures is described. This technology combines the high-resolution from projection microstereolithography and the fast print speed from CLIP, thereby achieving micrometer print resolution at x103 times faster than other high-resolution 3D printing technologies. Print resolutions in both lateral and vertical directions were characterized, and the printability of minimum 30 m features in 2D and 3D has been demonstrated. Through dynamic printing optimization, a method that varies the print parameters (e.g. exposure time, UV intensity, and dark time) for each print layer, overhanging struts at various thicknesses spanning 1 order of magnitude (25 m - 200 m) in a single print are resolvable. Taken together, this work illustrates that the micro-CLIP 3D printing technology, in combination with dynamic printing optimization, has the high resolution needed to enable manufacturing of exquisitely detailed and gradient 3D structures, such as terraced microneedle arrays and micro-lattice structures, while maintaining high print speeds.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.addma.2022.102800

    View details for PubMedID 35602181

  • Continuous Liquid Interface Production of 3D Printed Drug-Loaded Spacers to Improve Prostate Cancer Brachytherapy Treatment. Acta biomaterialia Hagan, C. T., Bloomquist, C., Kim, I., Knape, N. M., Byrne, J. D., Tu, L., Wagner, K., Mecham, S., DeSimone, J., Wang, A. Z. 2022


    Brachytherapy, which is the placement of radioactive seeds directly into tissue such as the prostate, is an important curative treatment for prostate cancer. By delivering a high dose of radiation from within the prostate gland, brachytherapy is an effective method of killing prostate cancer cells while limiting radiation dose to normal tissue. The main shortcomings of this treatment are: less effecacy against high grade tumor cells, acute urinary retention, and sub-acute urinary frequency and urgency. One strategy to improve brachytherapy is to incorporate therapeutics into brachytherapy. Drugs, such as docetaxel, can improve therapeutic efficacy, and dexamethasone is known to decrease urinary side effects. However, both therapeutics have high systemic side effects. To overcome this challenge, we hypothesized that we can incorporate therapeutics into the inert polymer spacers that are used to correctly space brachytherapy seeds during brachytherapy to enable local drug delivery. To accomplish this, we engineered 3D printed drug-loaded brachytherapy spacers using continuous liquid interface production (CLIP) with different surface patterns to control drug release. These devices have the same physical size as existing spacers, allowing them to easily replace commercial spacers. We examined these drug-loaded spacers using docetaxel and dexamethasone as model drugs in a murine model of prostate cancer. We found that drug-loaded spacers led to higher therapeutic efficacy for brachytherapy, and there was no discernable systemic toxicity from the drug-loaded spacers. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: There has been high interest in the application of 3D printing to engineer novel medical devices. However, such efforts have been limited by the lack of technologies that can fabricate devices suitable for real world medical applications. In this study, we demonstrate a unique application for 3D printing to enhance brachytherapy for cancer treatment. We engineered drug-loaded brachytherapy spacers that can be fabricated using Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP) 3D printing, allowing tunable printing of drug-loaded devices, and implanted intraoperatively with brachytherapy seeds. In combined chemotherapy and brachytherapy we are able to achieve greater therapeutic efficacy through local drug delivery and without systemic toxicities. We believe our work will facilitate further investigation in medical applications of 3D printing.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.actbio.2022.06.023

    View details for PubMedID 35724920

  • 3D printed drug-loaded implantable devices for intraoperative treatment of cancer. Journal of controlled release : official journal of the Controlled Release Society Tilden Hagan, C. 4., Bloomquist, C., Warner, S., Knape, N. M., Kim, I., Foley, H., Wagner, K., Mecham, S., DeSimone, J., Wang, A. Z. 2022


    Surgery is an important treatment for cancer; however, local recurrence following macroscopically-complete resection is common and a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. Systemic chemotherapy is often employed as an adjuvant therapy to prevent recurrence of residual disease, but has limited efficacy due to poor penetration and dose-limiting off-target toxicities. Selective delivery of chemotherapeutics to the surgical bed may eliminate residual tumor cells while avoiding systemic toxicity. While this is challenging for traditional drug delivery technologies, we utilized advances in 3D printing and drug delivery science to engineer a drug-loaded arrowhead array device (AAD) to overcome these challenges. We demonstrated that such a device can be designed, fabricated, and implanted intraoperatively and provide extended release of chemotherapeutics directly to the resection area. Using paclitaxel and cisplatin as model drugs and murine models of cancer, we showed AADs significantly decreased local recurrence post-surgery and improved survival. We further demonstrated the potential for fabricating personalized AADs for intraoperative application in the clinical setting.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jconrel.2022.02.024

    View details for PubMedID 35217100

  • Transdermal vaccination via 3D-printed microneedles induces potent humoral and cellular immunity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Caudill, C., Perry, J. L., Iliadis, K., Tessema, A. T., Lee, B. J., Mecham, B. S., Tian, S., DeSimone, J. M. 2021; 118 (39)


    Vaccination is an essential public health measure for infectious disease prevention. The exposure of the immune system to vaccine formulations with the appropriate kinetics is critical for inducing protective immunity. In this work, faceted microneedle arrays were designed and fabricated utilizing a three-dimensional (3D)-printing technique called continuous liquid interface production (CLIP). The faceted microneedle design resulted in increased surface area as compared with the smooth square pyramidal design, ultimately leading to enhanced surface coating of model vaccine components (ovalbumin and CpG). Utilizing fluorescent tags and live-animal imaging, we evaluated in vivo cargo retention and bioavailability in mice as a function of route of delivery. Compared with subcutaneous bolus injection of the soluble components, microneedle transdermal delivery not only resulted in enhanced cargo retention in the skin but also improved immune cell activation in the draining lymph nodes. Furthermore, the microneedle vaccine induced a potent humoral immune response, with higher total IgG (Immunoglobulin G) and a more balanced IgG1/IgG2a repertoire and achieved dose sparing. Furthermore, it elicited T cell responses as characterized by functional cytotoxic CD8+ T cells and CD4+ T cells secreting Th1 (T helper type 1)-cytokines. Taken together, CLIP 3D-printed microneedles coated with vaccine components provide a useful platform for a noninvasive, self-applicable vaccination.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.2102595118

    View details for PubMedID 34551974

  • Transdermal vaccination via 3D-printed microneedles induces potent humoral and cellular immunity PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Caudill, C., Perry, J. L., Iliadis, K., Tessema, A. T., Lee, B. J., Mecham, B. S., Tian, S., DeSimone, J. M. 2021; 118 (39)
  • Nanostructured Titania-Polymer Photovoltaic Devices Made Using PFPE-Based Nanomolding Techniques CHEMISTRY OF MATERIALS Williams, S. S., Hampton, M. J., Gowrishankar, V., Ding, I., Templeton, J. L., Samulski, E. T., DeSimone, J. M., McGehee, M. D. 2008; 20 (16): 5229-5234

    View details for DOI 10.1021/cm800729q

    View details for Web of Science ID 000258580500019

  • A Soft Lithography Route to Nanopatterned Photovoltaic Devices Conference on Nanoscale Photonic and Cell Technologies for Photovoltaics Williams, S. S., Hampton, M. J., Gowrishankar, V., Ding, I., Zhang, L., Ko, D., Templeton, J. L., DeSimone, J. M., McGehee, M. D., Samulski, E. T. SPIE-INT SOC OPTICAL ENGINEERING. 2008

    View details for DOI 10.1117/12.794853

    View details for Web of Science ID 000262507700010

  • COLL 177-Nanopatterning TiO2 for photovoltaic applications Williams, S., Earl, M. J., Zhou, Z., Gowrishankar, V., McGehee, M. D., Samulski, E. T., DeSimone, J. M. AMER CHEMICAL SOC. 2007
  • COLL 467-Nanotextured transparent semiconductor oxides for energy conversion Zhou, Z., Ko, D., Earl, M. J., Williams, S., Cheng, B., Gowrishankar, V., McGehee, M. D., DeSimone, J., Samulski, E. T. AMER CHEMICAL SOC. 2007