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Cato T. Laurencin is an engineer, scientist, and surgeon. At the University of Connecticut, he is the University Professor (the school’s highest academic title, and the 8th in the institution’s 138-year history); professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, materials science and engineering, and biomedical engineering; the Albert and Wilda Van Dusen Distinguished Endowed Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery; and Chief Executive Officer of the Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering.
Dr. Laurencin is known as a world leader in biomaterials, nanotechnology, stem cell science, drug delivery systems, and a field he has pioneered, regenerative engineering. He has produced seminal studies in a number of areas of engineering and science. He and his colleagues were the first to develop nanofiber technologies for tissue regeneration, and his group pioneered the development and understanding of polymer-ceramic systems for bone regeneration. The American Institute of Chemical Engineers cited this achievement in naming him one of the 100 Engineers of the Modern Era.
In recognition of his accomplishments and contributions, Dr. Laurencin was selected for the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the highest honor bestowed in America for technological achievement, presented in ceremonies at the White House. Further honors include the Clemson Award for Contributions to the Biomaterials Literature, the Technology Innovation and Development Award, the Founder’s Award from the Society for Biomaterials, and the Robinson Award for Excellence in Surgery. He has also received the most prestigious innovation grant awards from the National Institutes of Health (the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award) and the National Science Foundation (the NSF Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation Award). The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering honored him with the Pierre Galletti Award, medical and biological engineering’s highest honor. He received the Percy Julian Medal from the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers, and the Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons presented him with the Nicolas Andry Award, its highest honor. His work was honored by Scientific American as one of the 50 greatest achievements in science in 2007, and by National Geographic in its “100 Discoveries That Have Changed Our World” in 2012. In 2019 the American Association for the Advancement of Science awarded him the Philip Hauge Abelson Prize, for “signal contributions to the advancement of science in the United States.”
In addition, Dr. Laurencin has had two awards named in his honor: The Cato T. Laurencin Travel Fellowship Award given by the Society for Biomaterials, and the Cato T. Laurencin Lifetime Research Achievement Award given by the Cobb/National Medical Association Health Institute.
Dr. Laurencin is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Medicine, and American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Internationally, he is an elected fellow of the African Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Sciences of India, Indian National Academy of Engineering, and World Academy of Sciences, as well as an academician and elected member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
He earned his BSE degree in chemical engineering from Princeton University, his PhD in biochemical engineering/biotechnology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was named a Hugh Hampton Young Fellow, and his MD, magna cum laude, from the Harvard Medical School.