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Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D.

AIMBE College of Fellows Class of 2000
For leadership in the development of new degradable biomedical polymers and new techniques in musculoskeletal tissue engineering.

Indian National Academy of Engineering Elects Dr. Laurencin

Via U. Conn | November 1, 2016

UConn Health’s Dr. Cato T. Laurencin has been elected a Foreign Fellow by The Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE) for his outstanding accomplishments bridging engineering and medicine.

This is the second time India has honored Laurencin. In 2015, the Indian National Academy of Sciences, founded in 1930, elected him a Foreign Fellow. The Academy noted in its citation that he is a pioneer in materials science and a world leader in polymer-ceramics composites research.

With his election to the Indian National Academy of Engineering, Laurencin becomes the first American-born scientist to be elected to both of these academies of India.

“I am honored to be recognized by my colleagues and peers in India with election to the Indian National Academy of Engineering,” said Laurencin. “I am also honored to represent the University of Connecticut, demonstrating to the world the great level of science that is present at our school.  I look forward to further collaborations with the talented engineers and scientists of India to advance knowledge in the service of mankind.”

Laurencin is a pioneering surgeon-scientist in orthopaedic surgery, engineering, materials science and regenerative engineering. This year at the White House he received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the highest honor in the U.S. for technological achievement.

At UConn he is a designated University Professor, the eighth in the school’s history. He is professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, professor of materials science and engineering, and professor of biomedical engineering. He serves as chief executive officer of the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (CICATS), UConn’s cross-university science institute.

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White House Honors Dr. Cato Laurencin with National Medal of Technology and Innovation

Via UConn | May 19, 2016

UConn’s Dr. Cato Laurencin was honored on May 19 at the White House by President Barack Obama with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the nation’s highest honor for technological achievement.

The citation of Laurencin’s award read aloud during the medal ceremony was: For seminal work in the engineering of musculoskeletal tissues, especially for revolutionary achievements in the design of bone matrices and ligament regeneration; and for extraordinary work in promoting diversity and excellence in science.

“I am honored to receive the highest award in our nation for innovative technological achievement and scientific excellence from our great country,” said Laurencin. “Receiving the Medal of Technology and Innovation is a tribute to the hard work that has taken place by our great team over the past 25 years. It inspires me to keep working hard to advance science breakthroughs in regenerative engineering for future therapies for my patients.”

Pres. Obama commented at the ceremony: “The amount of brainpower in this room right now is astonishing.” The president shared that because the medal winners, such as Laurencin, lived in an America that fosters curiosity, invests in education and values science, “They were able to find their calling and do extraordinary things.”

“As president, I am proud to honor each of you for your contributions to our nation,” said Obama.

This is the third time Laurencin has received White House honors. Previously, he was awarded the Presidential Faculty Fellow Award from President Bill Clinton for his work bridging engineering and medicine, and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Math, and Engineering Mentoring from Pres. Obama.

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Professor Cato T. Laurencin to Receive 2016 Connecticut Medal of Technology

Via UConn | April 14, 2016

Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, a world-renowned physician-scientist in orthopaedic surgery, engineering, and materials science, has been named the 2016 recipient of the Connecticut Medal of Technology. Laurencin, of the University of Connecticut will accept the award at the 41st Annual Meeting & Dinner of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (CASE) on May 24.

Laurencin, a CASE member since 2009, is a pioneer who has developed technologies that are revolutionary and that are in use in important applications in the marketplace. He has exhibited leadership and courage in the development of new initiatives for science and entrepreneurship.

Laurencin is a University Professor at UConn. He is the 8th University Professor in the school’s history. This rare title is awarded to individuals for extraordinary academic excellence, and sustained, high-level achievements in administration at the school and is UConn’s highest faculty distinction. He currently is chief executive officer of the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, where he leads the university’s translational science research infrastructure. He is the founding director of the Institute for Regenerative Engineering and the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Center for Biomedical, Biological, Physical, and Engineering Sciences at UConn Health. In addition, he is a professor across the university, as well as a board certified orthopaedic surgeon, endowed professor of orthopaedic surgery, and fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Biomedical Engineering Society, the Materials Research Society, and the American Chemical Society.

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Dr. Laurencin to Receive National Medal of Technology & Innovation

Via U. Conn | December 22, 2015

The White House has announced today that UConn’s Dr. Cato T. Laurencin will be a recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation from the president of the United States.

The award is the nation’s highest honor for technological achievement that is bestowed by the president on America’s leading innovators.

“I am excited to be honored by President Barack Obama with this highest award in our land for scientific innovation,” said Laurencin. “I need to thank my family, teachers, mentors, colleagues, and students for inspiring me each and every day. What has been accomplished on this journey is in large part due to them.”

Laurencin will receive the medal at the White House next year. This will mark the third time he has received White House honors. He is also the recipient of the Presidential Faculty Fellow Award from President Bill Clinton for his work bridging engineering and medicine, and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Math, and Engineering Mentoring from President Barack Obama.

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U.S. Scientists Picked for Top China Panel

Via ECNS | December 8, 2015

The CAE, one of the most prestigious academic institutions in China, announced on Monday in Beijing its newest group of 70 Chinese members and eight foreign members, often known as academicians.

The foreign members include five Americans, one Briton, one Canadian and one Austrian, bringing CAE’s foreign members to 49.

Dr. Laurencin is one of only 3 practicing orthopaedic surgeons in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Laurencin was the first Orthopaedic Surgeon to achieve University Professor level rank in the country. He is the first surgeon in the US to be elected to the Third World Academy of Sciences (of the six US members elected in the last two years, one third are Nobel prize winners). Dr. Laurencin is a member of both the Institutes of Medicine and the National Academies of Engineering.[4][5]

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Dr. Cato T. Laurencin Receives Society for Biomaterials’ Highest Honor

Via U Conn | December 7, 2015

UConn’s Dr. Cato T. Laurencin is the recipient of the 2016 Founders Award, the highest honor of The Society For Biomaterials.

As a leading surgeon-scientist in orthopaedic surgery, engineering, and materials science and a pioneer of the field of regenerative engineering, Laurencin received this prestigious honor for his landmark and long-term contributions to the field of biomaterials science. He will be honored at the 2016 World Biomaterials Congress in Montreal, Canada on May 18, 2016.

“Dr. Laurencin has been a pioneer in biomaterials research, education, and entrepreneurship, having been one of the original investigators for the incorporation of nanotechnology into the biomaterials field,” says Thomas Webster, president of The Society For Biomaterials. “As a researcher and clinician, he serves as a model to us all concerning how to conduct ground-breaking fundamental and applied biomaterials research to make concrete advances in human health.”

“I am honored to receive this exceptional recognition from The Society For Biomaterials,” says Laurencin, a professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering at UConn and director of The Institute for Regenerative Engineering at UConn Health. “I thank the Society and look forward to advancing the discipline with new initiatives including the HEAL Project – a newly launched grand research challenge with the goals of engineering a human knee in seven years, and an entire limb within 15 years.”

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In Hartford, an Ambitious Goal to Regenerate Lost Limbs in Humans

Via WNPR | November 13, 2015

A group of doctors, scientists, and engineers announced an ambitious new medical goal this week in Hartford: they’ll attempt to re-generate a human knee and a human limb.

Cato Laurencin is engineer and a surgeon at UConn Health and he said bioengineering needs more grand challenges.

“Think about going to the moon — that project of going to the moon, when it was first stated in the early 1960s — where we had no way of being able to do it,” Laurencin said. “But [we] ended up doing it in the end. The technologies that came out of that were incredible.”

Like going to the moon, or sequencing the human genome, Laurencin doesn’t expect his new project to happen overnight.

He calls it “HEAL” (for “Hartford Engineering A Limb”). Timelines are loose, but he anticipates needing about seven years to regenerate a knee, and about 15 years for an entire limb.

David Gardiner, a scientist at UC Irvine, said more “moonshots” are needed in the field of biology and engineering.

“The basic science culture is very, very conservative. As a result, when it comes time to go get funds to support your research, you have to almost know what the answer is going to be,” Gardiner said.

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Dr. Laurencin Elected to India National Academy of Sciences

Via U. Conn Today | October 28, 2015

Cato T. Laurencin has been elected a Foreign Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences in India. He is one of only two 2015 Foreign Fellows elected, and the first from the University of Connecticut and UConn Health.

Laurencin was honored by India’s National Academy of Sciences “for his pioneering work in the field of material sciences.” He was recognized as a world leader in polymer-ceramic composites, and recognized for his contributions in tissue generation and bioengineering.

Laurencin is a University Professor at UConn, the eighth to be named in the school’s history. He is director of the Institute for Regenerative Engineering at UConn Health and director of the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Center for Biomedical, Biological, Physical, and Engineering Sciences.

The National Academy of Sciences in India was founded in 1930. It is that nation’s forum for research work, publications, and opportunities for the exchange of ideas.

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SFB Creates Cato Laurencin Travel Fellowship

Via Society for Biomaterials | September 16, 2015

Named in honor of a distinguished member of the Society For Biomaterials, the Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D. Travel Fellowship will support under-represented minorities in the field of biomaterials by providing an undergraduate student resources to attend the annual meeting of the Society For Biomaterials, and to become a member of the Society. The goal of this initiative is to stimulate/encourage recipients to pursue a career in biomaterials.

Studies conducted by the National Science Foundation and others have concluded that African-Americans, Latinos, Native-Americans and Native Alaskans are disproportionally under-represented in the fields of Science Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Their underrepresentation represents a barrier to excellence in these fields.

Dr. Cato Laurencin, for whom the fellowship has been named, is well known for his commitment to mentoring. He is the recipient of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Mentor Award, the Beckman Award for Mentoring, the Alvin F. Crawford Award for Mentoring, and received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Engineering and Math Mentoring from President Barack Obama in ceremonies at the White House.

 

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Hand in Glove: UConn Surgeon Brings Healing Hands to Boxing

Via UConn Today | September 8, 2015

After famed boxer Mike Tyson defeated Buster Mathis in the third round of a 1995 bout, the former heavyweight champion of the world waited for the referee to call the match, then hugged his contender.

Just a few feet away, Tyson’s ringside doctor witnessed this simple gesture between the two men, who moments before had vied for the heavyweight title by delivering each other blows.

That doctor was Cato Laurencin, now University Professor, Albert and Wilda Dusen Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, and director of the Institute for Regenerative Engineering at UConn.

Laurencin has worked as a ringside doctor for the past two decades. In August, he traveled to Venezuela as the physician for the USA Boxing Elite Men’s National Team for the American Boxing Confederation Championships.

“I’ve always loved the sport and the personalities,” he says. “Boxing teaches sportsmanship – the lessons for life are incredible.”

Dr. Cato Laurencin, second from right, in Venezuela with the USA Boxing Elite Men’s National Team in August 2015.
For Laurencin, who uses his hands for healing, his interest in a sport that uses hands for fighting has many motivations, one of them being the camaraderie that exists in much of professional boxing and in amateur boxing.

“In the amateur ranks,” he says, “the first thing boxers often do at the end of a fight is hug each other, then go to each corner and give thanks to their coaches, then the referee.”

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Cato Laurencin Receives NIH Pioneer Award

Via U. Conn | October 7, 2014

UConn’s Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, a renowned surgeon-scientist, has won a National Institutes of Health Pioneer Award for his exceptionally creative research in regenerative engineering.

The $4 million grant is part of the NIH’s program for high-risk research with potentially high rewards. It will support his cutting-edge work in regenerative engineering, a new field he has described in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

The NIH Director’s Pioneer Award recognizes an exclusive class of individual scientists whose work is deemed exceptionally creative, highly innovative, and to have the potential to produce “unusually high impact” in addressing or solving “exceptionally important problems” in biomedical or behavioral sciences. In the 11-year history of the Pioneer Award, relatively few recipients are also practicing physicians who take research findings from the lab to the bedside.

Dr. Cato T. Laurencin at his office at UConn Health in Farmington. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)
Laurencin is internationally known for developing revolutionary new ways to treat musculoskeletal injury. Last year, a bioengineered matrix he invented to regenerate ligament tissue inside the knee began clinical trials in Europe. Today he is working to bring new technologies involving regenerative engineering to regenerate entire joints, and perhaps someday entire limbs.

“If successful, this project will help usher in this new era of what we call regenerative engineering, providing revolutionary clinical solutions to millions,” Laurencin says. “Developing a new therapeutic strategy for the regeneration of complex musculoskeletal tissues and joints will revolutionize the way musculoskeletal tissue injury and wear is treated, tremendously improving the quality of lives of patients.”

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Bioengineered ACL Developed by UConn Physician-Scientist Wins U.S. Patent

Via UConn Today | August 21, 2013

A bioengineered matrix for treatment of torn anterior cruciate ligaments invented by a UConn Health Center physician-scientist is now patented in the United States.

Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, Van Dusen Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, founding director of the UConn Health Center’s Institute for Regenerative Engineering, and University Professor at UConn is the inventor of the L-C Ligament, the first bioengineered matrix shown to completely regenerate ligament tissue inside the knee.

Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, inventor of the L-C Ligament.
“Our large animal studies were completed over the last two years.  The technology may be a new solution for perhaps hundreds of thousands of individuals with ACL tears,” Laurencin says. “It also shows the promise that regenerative engineering can offer.”

A Phase 1 clinical trial is underway in Europe where the first patient was implanted with the L-C Ligament on June 18 by a surgical team in the Netherlands led by Dr. Kees van Egmond, a Dutch orthopaedic surgeon. In attendance at the surgery were  Dr. Robert Arciero, the UConn Health Center’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery chief of sports medicine and president-elect of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM), and Dr. Robert Stanton, an AOSSM past president.

“A biologic device that can regenerate a torn ACL would have tremendous impact for the 200,000 ACL tears that occur annually in the U.S.,” says Arciero. “If the human trials prove efficacious this would totally change the way surgeons manage this injury.”

Laurencin says after a successful European trial, a larger clinical trial in the United States would take place within the next two years.

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A Brief Discussion with AAAS Mentor Award Recipient Dr. Cato T. Laurencin

Via AAAS Member Central | April 17, 2013

At this year’s AAAS annual meeting, Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D., was the recipient of the 2012 AAAS Mentor Award “for his transformative impact and scientific contributions toward mentoring students in the field of biomedical engineering.” Dr. Laurencin has also been awarded with a number of other honors  including the Presidential Faculty Fellow Award from former U.S. President Bill Clinton, the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring from President Barack Obama. Among many other appointments, Dr. Laurencin is currently a Professor at the department of Orthopaedic Surgery at UConn Health Center.

Though widely recognized as a renowned scientist, it is his stature as a distinguished mentor that has prompted me to get in touch with him and ask a few questions regarding the topic. Here is what we discussed:

AAAS MemberCentral: What has inspired you to focus much of your attention on mentorship? Why do you think mentorship is so important?
Cato Laurencin, Professor at the University of Connecticut Health Center: I’ve been fortunate to have had a large number of great mentors in my life, starting with my parents, who have had profound influences on me. They’ve really shaped my life. Mentorship is critical to success in life, it was in mine.

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Cato T. Laurencin Wins 2012 AAAS Mentor Award

Via UConn Today | February 15, 2013

The 2012 AAAS Mentor Award will be presented to Cato T. Laurencin “for his transformative impact and scientific contributions toward mentoring students in the field of biomedical engineering.” He will receive the award during a 15 February ceremony at the 2013 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts.

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National Geographic Cites Work by UConn’s Laurencin Among ‘Scientific Discoveries that Changed the World’

Via UConn Today | March 9, 2012

A research breakthrough made by Cato T. Laurencin, director of the Institute for Regenerative Engineering at the UConn Health Center, may someday revolutionize recoveries for patients with tears of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) – one of the most common knee injuries. That’s according to a special issue of National Geographic that includes Laurencin’s work among the“100 scientific discoveries that changed the world.”

Laurencin’s research includes work on a new approach to ACL regeneration that incorporates the use of a biocompatible and degradable synthetic braided scaffold that would be surgically implanted to create ligament tissue. The scaffold would stabilize the knee and facilitate unprecedented regeneration of ligament tissue.

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Biomedical Engineering Society Honors Health Center VP

Via UConn Today | August 13, 2010

Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, vice president for health affairs at the University of Connecticut Health Center and dean of the medical school, has been elected a fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society.

The BMES bestows this honor in recognition of outstanding contributions and achievements in biomedical engineering.

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Laurencin Honored by President Obama

Via UConn Today | January 8, 2010

In a White House ceremony, President Barack Obama honored 22 recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, including Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, vice president for health affairs and medical school dean.

“We are here today to honor teachers and mentors… who are upholding their responsibility not just to the young people who they teach but to our country by inspiring and educating a new generation in math and science,” Obama said. “But we’re also here because this responsibility can’t be theirs alone. All of us have a role to play in building an education system that is worthy of our children and ready to help us seize the opportunities and meet the challenges of the 21st century.”

Obama told the award recipients, “Whether it’s showing students how to record the habits of a resident reptile, or teaching kids to test soil samples on a class trip to Costa Rica; whether it’s helping young people from tough neighborhoods in Chicago to become “Junior Paleontologists,” or creating a mentoring program that connects engineering students with girls and minorities, who are traditionally underserved in the field — all of you are demonstrating why teaching and mentoring is so important, and why we have to support you, equip you, and send in some reinforcements for you.”

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, awarded each year to individuals or organizations, recognizes the crucial role that mentoring plays in the academic and personal development of students studying science or engineering.

“I am humbled and honored by this award,” Laurencin said. “Mentoring aspiring physicians, scientists, and engineers has been, and continues to be, one of the most gratifying aspects of my career. On behalf of the students I have had the privilege of knowing, I am delighted to receive this award.”

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