Dr. Joseph DeSimone, a chemistry professor at UNC-CH and N.C. State as well as an inventor and entrepreneur, will succeed John Kasarda as director of the Kenan Institute of Private Enerperise at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Kasarda has retired after 22 years as director.

UNC announced DeSimon’s selection on Monday.

DeSimone is the Chancellor’s Eminent Professor of Chemistry at UNC and William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at NC State University and of Chemistry at UNC.

“We are very pleased to welcome Joseph DeSimone to the Kenan Institute,” said James Dean Jr., dean of UNC Kenan-Flagler business school. “He is a world-renowned scholar in his field. As an innovative entrepreneur, he is applying his research to design novel nanomedicines for cancer therapy and to improve vaccines and drug delivery mechanisms. He is the perfect leader to continue the institute’s cutting-edge research and collaboration with business and communities to create positive local and global change.”

DeSimone has been part of teams securing 130 patents and has more than 100 patents pending.

Among the companies he has launched is Liquidia, an RTP firm that is a world leader in nanomedicine.

“Rooted in the visionary leadership of Frank Hawkins Kenan and John Kasarda, the Kenan Institute is central to UNC’s continued leadership as an entrepreneurial university in the 21st century,” DeSimone said in a statement. “I am forever grateful for the unbelievably strong support that I and the university continue to receive from the Kenan family. We are uniquely positioned to leverage the intellectual capital we have right here on campus, join it with some of the best and brightest minds from around the globe, and develop innovative market-based solutions to some of the most pressing global challenges of our time, including poverty, health, education, energy, sustainable development and economic growth. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to help drive the institute forward at this critical juncture.”

The Kenan Institute focuses on research, education and public policy in entrepreneurship, economic development and global competitiveness.

DeSimone has received several awards for his research and was elected to both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.

DeSimone earned his bachelor of science in chemistry degree from Ursinus College in 1986 and his doctorate in chemistry from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1990.