The AfroBiotech Conference, hosted by the Society for Biological Engineering in Atlanta, Georgia, will highlight the achievements of African Americans in biotechnology, inspire a new generation of diverse biotechnology professionals and identify, communicate, and explore current advancements in various aspects of Biotechnology. The October 27th-29th conference aims to support AIChE’s diverse engineering community.
The AfroBiotech conference will focus on discoveries, innovations, and achievements from African-American scientists and engineers in biotechnology to feature the contributions of this underrepresented group to solving current problems and demonstrate the power of a diverse engineering community. By organizing African-American scientific talent from across the U.S. at a single event, AfroBiotech hopes to enable the biotech industry to hire diverse professionals, inspire organizers of other scientific conferences to invite diverse speakers, and inspire the next generation of diverse students and scholars to join this community.
Thomas C. Katsouleas was formally inaugurated as the 16th President of the University of Connecticut on Friday afternoon at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts. The event was attended by Board of Trustees members, state legislators, previous UConn presidents, presidents from visiting colleges, friends and family of the president, UConn faculty and students.
Prior to the inauguration, nine faculty members each presented a TEDx-style talk, highlighting their areas of expertise. Representing UConn’s outstanding faculty, this diverse group of scholars provoked thought and discussion. Dr. Laurencin was the first to present and discussed a field he pioneered, Regenerative Engineering. Immediately following the presentations a luncheon was held, followed by the Ceremony, and concluding with a Procession to the Student Union Mall for a celebratory reception.
On Sunday, Oct. 6, during its 2019 annual meeting, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) will present two awards for extraordinary impact on the engineering profession. The Simon Ramo Founders Award will be presented to Cato Thomas Laurencin for his research contributions and leadership in engineering. The Arthur M. Bueche Award will be given to Roderic Ivan Pettigrew for his contributions to technology research, policy, and national and international cooperation.
Cato T. Laurencin is known worldwide as a leader in biomaterials, nanotechnology, stem cell science, drug delivery systems, and a field he has pioneered, regenerative engineering. Laurencin is being recognized with the Simon Ramo Founders Award “for fundamental, critical, and groundbreaking scientific advances in the engineering of tissues, guiding technology and science policy, and promoting diversity and excellence in science.” The award acknowledges outstanding professional, educational, and personal achievements to the benefit of society and includes a commemorative medal.
At the University of Connecticut, Laurencin is the University Professor, the eighth to be designated by the school in its over 135 year history. He is 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. 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 when naming him one of the 100 Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era. In 2014, Laurencin was selected for the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the highest honor bestowed in America for technological achievement, presented by the president of the United States, “for seminal work in the engineering of musculoskeletal tissues, especially for revolutionary achievements in the design of bone matrices and ligament regeneration.”
He has received the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s Pioneer Award and the National Science Foundation (NSF) Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation Grant Award for his field of regenerative engineering. He is the recipient of the Philip Hauge Abelson Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Science “for signal contributions to the advancement of science in the United States.” He has served in leadership positions at NIH, NSF, and the FDA.
Laurencin is an elected member of the NAE, National Academy of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Internationally, he is an elected fellow of the African Academy of Sciences of India, Indian National Academy of Engineering, and the World Academy of Sciences, as well as an academician and elected member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
The mission of the NAE is to advance the well-being of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshaling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology. The NAE is part of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, an independent, nonprofit organization chartered by Congress to provide objective analysis and advice to the nation on matters of science, technology, and health.
The CT Convergence Institute’s JUMP Community Program recently teamed up with the YMCA to launch the first ever “JUMP Kids” campaign! On Monday Sept 30th 2019, students in the YMCA after-school programs from locations all over the state gathered at Toffolon School in Plainville to learn about their new step counting mission. The goal of deploying the JUMP program at the grade school level is to teach students the importance of increasing step count, but in an enjoyable and kid-friendly way. The program aims to provide the students with the necessary knowledge to maintain a healthy lifestyle before problems arise. Every child is equipped with a pedometer and water bottle and have 30 minutes each day to wear the pedometer and perform a physical activity. At the end of each month, one YMCA site with the highest average step count, wins an incentive to purchase healthy lifestyle related equipment. At the end of the 7-month roll out, the site with the highest step counts wins tickets to a Hartford Yard Goats baseball game.
On Tuesday, October 1, 2019 Young Innovative Investigator Program (YIIP) Scholar Aundrya Montgomery successfully defended her Master’s Thesis defense titled “Stem Cell Based Delivery System in a Non-Regenerative Nail Injury Model.” With 3 years of guidance and support from her Major Advisor, Dr. Cato Laurencin, and YIIP Program Manager, Lana Angelo, she passed her defense with flying colors.
The entire Connecticut Convergence Institute sends congratulations and looks forward to seeing what is next for Aundrya!
On September 25th, Dr. Helen Wu and the community outreach team visited Parkville Senior Center in Hartford to provide a Health Café on sugar consumption. Attendees learned about sugar intake suggestions, hidden sugar, what to look for in food labels and healthy alternatives. The interactive demonstration concluded with participants trying an inexpensive veggie/fruit smoothie. CT Convergence Institute Health Cafes fall under the CT Community Health Science Initiative which aims to educate the community on the importance of starting or maintaining a healthy lifestyle via nutrition and physical activity.