Announcements

Dr. Laurencin and the Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering at the University of Connecticut Congratulate Masters in Clinical and Translational Science Graduate

 

The Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering at the University of Connecticut is please to congratulate Courtney D. Townsel, MD, MSc who recently published an article entitled “More than grit: growing and sustaining physician-scientists in obstetrics and gynecology” in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

 

Dr. Townsel, a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist, completed her Masters in Clinical and Translational Research at the University of Connecticut’s Connecticut Convergence Institute. After graduating from the University in 2018, she accepted a faculty position at the University of Michigan. She has been very successful with her research areas which include health disparities and substance use disorder in pregnancy. The Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering at the University of Connecticut is proud to have the opportunity to recognize Dr. Townsel and looks forward to her continued success.

 

To read more, view the newly published article here.

Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering Fellow in Health Disparities Elimination and Community Action

Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering

Fellow in Health Disparities Elimination and Community Action

Postdoctoral Fellow position in Health Disparities

Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering at the University of Connecticut is seeks to hire a full time, Postdoctoral Research Fellow position in the CT Convergence Institute.

The Health Disparities Fellow will work closely with the Chief Executive Officer and Assistant Director of the Connecticut Convergence Institute on Health Disparities related initiatives and will contribute to research and community engagement initiatives associated with the Connecticut Convergence Institute Health Disparities Core Projects. In this capacity, the fellow will work on a new National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine Roundtable on Black Men and Black Women in Medicine, Engineering and Science.  The fellow will be engaged part time to work with the development of Perspective papers and surveys related to issues facing Black Men and Black Women in Medicine, Engineering and Science.  The Fellow will also work with members of the Roundtable on formulation of follow on projects from ideas generated from the Roundtable.  In addition, the Fellow will work on community health disparities projects funded by an Aetna Foundation Community Partnership Grant to the Connecticut Convergence Institute. The Fellow will also serve on the editorial board of the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, published by Springer Nature and having its home at the Connecticut Convergence Institute at UCONN.

The successful candidate must hold a terminal professional degree (e.g. Ph.D. M.D., and/or M.P.H.) and have demonstrated potential for success based on scholarly record and demonstrated interest in health disparities, and have the ability to work in collaboration with clinical, translational and/or basic scientists.

A curriculum vitae and a cover letter (in pdf files) and questions regarding this search should be directed to Dr. Lakshmi Nair, Associate Director of the Connecticut Convergence Institute at nair@uchc.edu.

The Imhotep Connecticut National Medical Association Society Announces Its Historic Re-Launch and Inaugural Meeting

Farmington, CT- The Imhotep Connecticut National Medical Association Society held its first inaugural meeting with leadership of the National Medical Association, hospital executives, and legislative leaders on March 17th, 2021. Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, President of the CT NMA, recently announced the re-launch of the society.

“The goal in terms of the society is to work to create a welcoming environment for Black physicians, fellows, students and residents in the state of Connecticut. We aim to create an ecosystem that supports the work and concerns inclusive of all of these individuals. The society hopes to promote a sense of well-being through various programming, events and other venues that create comradery amongst the group,” stated Dr. Laurencin. “The society encourages the support of allies to this goal. It is gratifying to see the support of the leaders of all the major health systems in the state.”

The President of the National Medical Association, Dr. Leon McDougle, attended this inaugural meeting. It was noted that he was the first individual to donate to the society.

“Coming in as President Elect of the NMA, my charge was to visit as many state and local societies as possible. Due to Dr. Cato Laurencin’s efforts here we are today, moving forward in addressing very necessary issues within the Black community,” said Dr. McDougle.

The CT NMA Society serves as a networking platform for Black physicians and plays a significant role in the dissemination of health information to the Black Community. The CT NMA is a community-based affiliated organization which represents “a collective voice of Black physicians and will be a leading force for parity and justice in medicine and the elimination of disparities in health”, according to its mission statement.

National Medical Association (NMA) Region I Chair, Dr. Gary Butts of New York indicated, “Nothing matters more in my mind than the work we do for others and the support of the NMA. This society enables us to come together on behalf of the community that we have committed our professional lives to. This is just the beginning.”

Dr. Marja Hurley, the Vice-President of CT-NMA and Professor of Medicine and Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, stated, “I always felt it was critical that Black physicians be available to mentor students and residents. I also think given COVID-19 and the amounting health disparities we have seen over the past year, we need to be at the forefront, our voices need to be heard, and having this organization will allow us to be more engaged and welcome all of our allies who are willing to push forward.”

In July 2020, Dr. Laurencin assumed the role of the new President of the Society, and since has already made great advances in the organization’s development. Dr. Laurencin, along with the entire society, officially secured support and funding from all major Connecticut hospital healthcare systems including:

  • UConn Health
  • Hartford HealthCare
  • Connecticut Children’s
  • Trinity Health of New England
  • Yale New Haven Health
  • Eastern Connecticut Health Network
  • Nuvance Health
  • Waterbury Hospital/ Waterbury Health

Executives representing Connecticut hospital systems were present and reiterated their support for the CT NMA and its mission.

Chief Executive Officer and the Executive Vice President for Health Affairs for UConn Health, Dr. Andrew Agwunobi was in attendance and showed his support for the newly formed group. “Dr. Laurencin’s achievements at UConn have certainly raised the bar. He is a powerhouse for diversity and inclusion for the community. COVID-19 has shone a light on healthcare disparities, and now more than ever, diversity and inclusion is critical in the healthcare arena. The newly formed society and Dr. Cato Laurencin converging together will create a historic moment for Black healthcare.”

President and Chief Executive Officer of Hartford HealthCare, Mr. Jeffrey Flaks stated, “Hartford HealthCare is committed to making sustained and measurable progress to address, and ultimately eliminate, inequities in healthcare. Drastic changes are needed, and working with the CT NMA Society is an important step on this journey.”

Chief Executive Officer of Waterbury Health, Mr. Lester Schindel stated, “We are committed to improving the quality of healthcare. By being part of this organization it is consistent with our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. This society will enable our medical staff and leadership to continue to learn throughout this journey.”

Legislative leaders were also present, and confirmed their support. “This society will enable doing what needs to be done to change the health conditions of the people in our communities. This society will undoubtedly yield action and outcome,” commented State Senator Douglas McCrory.

The Imhotep Connecticut National Medical Association Society looks forward to tackling the challenges that lie ahead to create a better environment for Black doctors and to ultimately address health disparities in the State of Connecticut. For more information and to be a part of this growing society, please visit CTNMA.ORG.

Dr. Lakshmi Nair Elected as a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering

Dr. Lakshmi Nair, Associate Director, Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering and Associate Professor, Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Connecticut has recently been nominated and elected to become a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE).  Dr. Nair was elected for her outstanding contributions in the field of biomaterials, injectable hydrogels and exceptional contributions to teaching, mentorship and service. Dr. Nair’s research focus on developing minimally invasive therapeutic strategies for managing musculoskeletal pain.  Dr. Nair is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors and fellow, Biomaterials and Artificial Organs, India.

This elite group currently consists of approximately 2,000 individuals all over the world who are outstanding bioengineers in academia, industry, clinical practice, and government. Fellows are nominated each year by their peers and represent the top 2% of the medical and biological engineering community. The most accomplished and distinguished engineering and medical school chairs, research directors, professors, innovators, and successful entrepreneurs comprise the College of Fellows.

Dr. Nair joins Dr. Laurencin and has now become the 9th AIMBE Fellow in UConn’s history, and the 3rd at the Medical School. A formal induction ceremony will be held during AIMBE’s 2021 Annual Event on March 26th, 2021. Dr. Nair will be inducted along with 174 colleagues who make up the AIMBE Fellow Class of 2021.

Link to official AIMBE Press Release

Dr. Laurencin’s “The COVID-19 Pandemic: a Call to Action to Identify and Address Racial and Ethnic Disparities” Publication Made Springer Nature’s 2020 Highlights

In April 2020, Dr. Cato Laurencin and Dr. Aneesah McClinton published the first peer reviewed paper outlining the disproportionate levels of COVID-19 in the Black community. Since then, the paper has had such an impact that it made Springer Nature’s 2020 Highlights.

The Highlights represent a selection of the most popular articles and book chapters published and reflect top research that made an impact throughout the year. The COVID-19 Pandemic: a Call to Action to Identify and Address Racial and Ethnic Disparities was one of six in the public health space to be highlighted.

Regenerative Engineering Pioneer Dr. Cato T. Laurencin Launches the First Master of Science Degree Program in Regenerative Engineering

Farmington, CT- On December 9, 2020, the University of Connecticut announced it will offer the world’s first Master of Science Degree in Regenerative Engineering. The program will be jointly run by the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department and the Materials Science and Engineering Department of the University of Connecticut’s Engineering School.

The Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering CEO, and creator of the field, Dr. Cato Laurencin defines regenerative engineering as the convergence of advanced materials sciences, stem cell science, physics, developmental biology, and clinical translation, for the regeneration of complex tissues and organ systems. The field is poised to make breakthrough advances, such as the limb regeneration research taking place at UConn.

“I am very excited we have launched this graduate program to provide the necessary tools and resources to train and inspire future generations of scientists and researchers. The field of regenerative engineering is geared toward creating solutions to problems that will benefit people on a global scale”

For more information on Regenerative Engineering please visit this link.

 

President Katsouleas, Engineering Professor Ki Chon Named National Academy of Inventors Fellows

President Thomas C. Katsouleas and Krenicki Professor of Biomedical Engineering Ki Chon have been named Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), the organization announced on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020.

The NAI Fellows Program highlights academic inventors who have demonstrated a spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society. Election to NAI Fellow is the highest professional distinction accorded solely to academic inventors. To date, NAI Fellows hold more than 42,700 issued U.S. patents, which have generated over 13,000 licensed technologies and companies, and created more than 36 million jobs. In addition, over $2.2 trillion in revenue has been generated based on NAI Fellow discoveries.

The 2020 Fellow class represents 115 research universities and governmental and non-profit research institutes worldwide. They collectively hold over 4,700 issued U.S. patents. Among the 2020 Fellows are 24 recipients of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, six recipients of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and two Nobel Laureates, as well as other honors and distinctions. Their collective body of research covers a range of scientific disciplines including biomedical engineering, computer engineering, materials science, and physics.

The complete list of NAI Fellows is available on the here.

The class of Fellows will be inducted at the 2021 Fellows Induction Ceremony at the Tenth Annual Meeting of the National Academy of Inventors this June in Tampa, Florida.

“At the University of Connecticut we continue to add to and maintain an ecosystem comprised of outstanding researchers, inventors, educators, mentors an innovators who represent the core values the National Academy of Inventors. We are honored to welcome these two distinguished inventors to the ranks of Fellow” says Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, President of the UCONN NAI Chapter and a member of the NAI Board of Directors.

The UConn Chapter of the National Academy of Inventors has been established to

  • Promote scientific innovation and inventorship across all disciplines in the UConn community
  • Develop educational and mentorship programs around invention and inventorship
  • Increase awareness regarding innovation and encourage the disclosure of intellectual property
  • Drive engagement by bringing academia and industry together and
  • Create a platform to share the lessons learned by the UConn inventors and other research communities in CT

Prior to arriving at UConn as its 16th president in August 2019, Katsouleas was the executive vice president and provost at the University of Virginia since 2015, having been appointed to the position after serving for seven years at Duke University as the dean of the Pratt School of Engineering and professor of electrical and computer engineering.

He was a researcher and faculty member at UCLA for seven years after receiving his Ph.D., before joining the University of Southern California faculty as an associate professor of electrical engineering in 1991, becoming full professor in 1997. He also was an associate dean of USC’s engineering school and vice provost of information technology services.

Katsouleas is a leading scholar in the field of plasma science and has authored or co-authored more than 250 publications. He has deep roots in academia, having served a term as president of the Faculty and Academic Senate at USC during his time in its engineering school.

He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). While at Duke, he also created the Grand Challenge Scholars Program of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), a program now emulated at more than 120 universities across the U.S. and in several countries around the world.

ChonKrenicki Professor of Biomedical Engineering, specializes in medical instrumentation, biosignal processing, modeling, simulation and development of novel algorithms to understand dynamic processes and extract distinct features of physiological systems.  He is currently dedicating his time to the following research projects:

  • Evaluation of the effects of oxygen toxicity and hyperbaric environments on the autonomic nervous system:  The goal is to develop noninvasive approaches for early detection of and differentiation between fatal and non-fatal decompression sickness (DCS).  Both swine and human experiments are being conducted to test the robustness of our algorithm for early detection and prediction of DCS.
  • Real-time detection of atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter and atrial tachycardia from surface ECG:  The goal is to develop real-time algorithms for accurate detection of atrial fibrillation, flutter and tachycardia that are especially applicable for Holter monitoring devices.
  • Spatio-temporal analysis of renal autoregulation:  The goal is to understand how nephrons synchronize to autoregulate renal blood flow using laser speckle imaging techniques.
  • Noninvasive assessment of diabetic cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy (DCAN) from surface ECG or pulse oximeter:  The goal is to develop noninvasive approaches for early detection of DCAN. Diabetic and control mice are used to collect ECG data and validation of computational data analysis results is measured against Western blot and immunohistochemistry.
  • Vital sign monitoring from optical recordings with a mobile phone:The goal is to utilize a mobile phone video camera to extract vital sign and physiological parameters, which may include heart rate, oxygen saturation, respiratory rate, atrial fibrillation detection, blood loss detection, and the dynamics of the autonomic nervous system.
  • Wearable devices for vital sign monitoring: The goal is to develop wearable devices (e.g., chest strap, wearable shirt and watches) and new sensors (e.g., dry ECG, skin conductance and EMG electrodes) to measure vital sign and physiological parameters for both dry and water immersion conditions.

Chon is currently a Fellow of the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering (IAMBE) as well as the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE).

Dr. Cato T. Laurencin Receives New Appointment

We are pleased to announce that CICATS Chief Executive Officer Dr. Cato Laurencin has been appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to the National Medal of Technology and Innovation Nomination Evaluation Committee. The National Medal of Technology and Innovation is the nation’s highest honor for technological achievement and Dr. Laurencin received this award in May of 2016 at the White House from President Barack Obama. With this appointment, Dr. Laurencin will make recommendations about which nominees should be selected for this distinguished honor.