On Friday, June 5th Dr. Laurencin sponsored and participated in a webinar put on by the Connecticut Racial Profiling Prohibition Project titled “Truth and Reconciliation- A Conversation about Race and Policing”. For years, the killing of unarmed Black people has sparked calls for reform. The death of George Floyd by a white police officer has laid bare an open wound in our nation and inflicted additional trauma on people of color plagued by a history of institutionalized police violence and systemic racism. The protests erupting across the country demonstrate the urgency in which these issues still need to be addressed. The webinar enabled an open and honest discussion about policing and race relations in the state. Panelists discussed how to reconcile the past and explore ways to heal the community.
Dr. Laurencin serves on the Racial Profiling Prohibition Project Advisory Board. The advisory board was established (in 2012) for the purpose of advising the Office of Policy and Management with respect to the adoption and standardized methods and guidelines pursuant to Connecticut General Statute 54-1m. The advisory meets on a monthly basis and is open to the public.
Dr. Laurencin has been selected to receive the 2020 James E. Bailey award in Biological Engineering. The award is sponsored by the Society of Biological Engineering, and is presented to an individual who is a pioneer, a mentor, an innovator, an integrator of biology and engineering, a teacher, and whose achievements have provided a major impact to the field of biological engineering.
Dr. Laurencin will receive the award during the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ annual meeting in San Francisco, California. In addition to receiving the prestigious award, Dr. Laurencin will provide the James E. Bailey lecture titled Regenerative Engineering: The Present and Future of Tissue Regeneration.
Dr. Laurencin is the Founder of the Field of Regenerative Engineering. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Regenerative Engineering and Translational Medicine, and is the Founder and President of the Regenerative Engineering Society. Dr. Laurencin was named One of the 100 Engineers of the Modern Era by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. He won the Percy Julian Medal, the highest award of the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers.
Dr. Laurencin has been honored by the White House on three occasions. He received the Presidential Faculty Fellow Award from President Bill Clinton, the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Math and Engineering Mentoring from President Barack Obama, and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, America’s highest honor for technological achievement.
Dr. Laurencin is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine. He is the first to receive both the oldest/highest award from the National Academy of Engineering (the Simon Ramo Founder’s Award) and the oldest/highest award from the National Academy of Medicine (the Walsh McDermott Medal).
Dr. Laurencin is a designated University Professor at the University of Connecticut. He earned his B.S.E. in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University, his Ph.D. in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his M.D., Magna Cum Laude, from the Harvard Medical School.
We are proud to announce that Chia-Ling Kuo, Ph.D., a Biostatistician at the Connecticut Convergence Institute has made almost every major headline due to her recent paper published in theJournal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences. Her latest publication shows that there is a gene linked to dementia which increases the risk of developing severe symptoms of COVID-19.
Read more about Dr. Kuo’s discoveries on any of the following:
Dr. Laurencin has recently been nominated and elected to become a Fellow of the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering (IAMBE). IAMBE fellowship represents individuals with outstanding contributions to and leadership in the field of medical and biological engineering. This elite group currently consists of approximately 150 leading scientists and researchers all over the world. Dr. Laurencin joins twenty-seven other individuals being elected into the class of 2020 AIMBE Fellows.
The virtual induction ceremony will take place on September 18th during the Annual Event of IAMBE, held in conjunction with the Carnegie Mellon Forum on Biomedical Engineering in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
On Monday May 18th, Dr. Laurencin virtually attended and presented at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair 2020. Dr. Laurencin was invited to be a part of the Excellence in Science and Technology panel. He discussed the importance of engaging both young people and non-scientists equally in the scientific enterprise, as well as shared some inspirational advice. Dr. Laurencin encouraged attendees with guidance such as “Don’t make a decision based upon money. It should be based upon doing the right thing. If you do good things, good things happen.”
The highly anticipated annual event is a broad networking and educational opportunity for folks in the STEM community. The event celebrates achievements in science and engineering and is sponsored by The Society for Science & the Public and Regeneron. The Society for Science & the Public is a nonprofit dedicated to enhancing scientific literacy, STEM education and scientific research.
Yesterday The Connecticut Convergence Institute hosted the first virtual Health Café! As a part of UConn Health, we value the seriousness of social distancing during this trying time, but also understand the importance of continuing public health education. Thus, we plan to continue the Health Café Series in a virtual format for the near future.
Moderated by Dr. Kevin Lo, Assistant Director of the CT Convergence Institute, the episode featured Dr. Cato Laurencin, CEO of the CT Convergence Institute joined by special guests Senator Douglas McCrory, and Dr. Kevin Dieckhaus, Chief of Infectious Diseases at UConn Health. Dr. Laurencin and Senator McCrory discussed the implications of COVID-19 on the Black community, while Dr. Dieckhaus took a deeper dive into the medical aspect of the virus. In true Health Café style, the webinar concluded with Q&A segment complete with questions submitted from local community members.
On behalf of the Institute, we thank you all for your continued support, and stay tuned for updates regarding future virtual Health Cafes.
FARMINGTON – Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D. and Aneesah McClinton, M.D., doctors at UConn Health have demonstrated a new alternative to the handshake, in an effort to reduce human contact and protect public health. In the midst of a global pandemic, the goal is to establish preventative measures to diminish the spread of COVID-19. The recent crisis has triggered reshaping behaviors around greeting etiquette, as hand-to-hand contact is strongly discouraged. A single handshake can transfer 124 million bacteria, twice as many pathogens than a high five. The Laurencin-McClinton Greeting (LMG) has already had substantial impact, appearing in the Editor’s Blog of the Journal Science. The LMG is the innovation of Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, CEO of The Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering at UConn Health. Laurencin predicted the demand for an adapted greeting due to the constantly evolving COVID-19 culture.
“The new greeting is timely as social distancing restrictions are gradually lifted throughout the country. We introduce a new greeting that avoids hand contact altogether.” says Laurencin. While other forms of greetings are being explored during these unprecedented times, the most popular elbow bump is considered less than ideal as it is a common practice to sneeze and cough into the elbow region, creating a breeding ground for germs.
A Two-Part Greeting
Part 1 does not require contact and can be performed to acknowledge another individual at a reasonable distance away, an ideal gesture in a time of social distancing. An individual places their closed fist to their chest just overlying the heart to convey greeting to another. The closed fist is a power symbol and the placement over the heart conveys solidarity and demonstrates resolve to endure in this unprecedented crisis.
Part 2 may be performed when contact amongst two parties is permitted. In this scenario, after an individual has placed their fist to their chest, they may then extend their forearm outward at a 45-degree angle signifying the initiation of the second part of the greeting. The reciprocating party may position their arm alongside the initiator’s arm. Together, they briefly tap the dorsal aspect of their mid-forearms forming a cross-like configuration. The dorsal surface of the mid-forearm represents a safe zone just between the hands and elbows.
The CT Convergence Institute signature Health Café Series is going virtual! As a part of UConn Health, we value the seriousness of social distancing during this trying time, but also understand the importance of continuing public health education. Thus, we plan to continue the Health Café Series in a virtual format for the near future.
The episode will feature Dr. Cato Laurencin, CEO of the CT Convergence Institute joined by special guests Senator Douglas McCrory, and Dr. Kevin Dieckhaus, Chief of Infectious Diseases at UConn Health.
Dr. Laurencin has recently been featured on numerous media outlets due to his groundbreaking research on COVID-19 and the Black community.
Senator McCrory is a member of the Black & Puerto Rican Caucus and is committed to strengthening neighborhoods through education, development and civic engagement.
Dr. Dieckhaus has been instrumental in developing COVID-19 surge capacity for Uconn Health and has helped build and organize numerous policies and practices for both patient care and health care worker safety.
All panelists will be available for a Q&A segment at the end of the program.
When: May 13th from 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Episode Title: Health Café on COVID-19 and the Black Community
Speakers: Dr. Cato T. Laurencin of UConn Health, CT Senator Douglas McCrory & Dr. Kevin Dieckhaus of UConn Health
The CT Convergence Institute is proud to announce former YIIP Scholar Aundrya Montgomery was recently selected as a finalist for the Women of Innovation Program. Women of Innovation 2020 is a collaboration between the Connecticut Technology Council and the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, Inc. The program recognizes women innovators, role models, and leaders in science and technology, including outstanding young women at the high school and collegiate levels pursuing technology professions.
Aundrya was recognized in the Community Innovation and Leadership category and was handpicked by a panel of judges from over 150 nominations. She is currently the Director of Community Outreach of the Urban League of Greater Hartford Young Professionals where she empowers and encourages the inner city youth of Hartford to pursue S.T.E.A.M. careers. Aundrya attributes the success of her Urban League career to her participation in the YIIP Program here at The CT Convergence Institute. While in the program, her dream developed to build on her passion for motivating young men and women of color to believe that any dream is achievable with hard work and effort.
Under the direction of Dr. Laurencin, graduate students of the CT Convergence Institute, Amir Seyedsalehi and Godwin Dzidotor, are filling the COVID-19 mask void by utilizing cutting edge technology to create custom fit masks for ICU staff at UConn Health. Each student uses their own customization approach which aims to mimic the optimal protective qualities that N95 respirators provide. The prototypes are actively being used at UConn Health as of last Thursday, and final designs will be released to the ICU staff over the coming weeks.
Amir’s custom design is a mask frame (exoskeleton) which is worn on top of the conventional surgical mask to fit the face perfectly and seal from external air with potential virus particles. The frames are custom designed to fit the contour of each individual’s face. This process is achieved beginning with a “mask fitting session” in which the employee gets photos taken of their face, one portrait and one profile. Amir then uploads the images to a facial recognition software which then generates the customized 3D printed model.
Design # 2
Godwin’s design is also a mask frame (exoskeleton) which is worn over the conventional surgical mask. This design sets itself apart in that these are semi-custom fit masks, meant for mass production. Godwin is working on developing a variety of different sizes, such as small, medium, large etc. The idea is to eliminate the one-size-fits-all notion, and create a more customized feel. This prototype process can be compared to distributing clothing in a department store.
Both designs have patents in process and plans for mass production. The tangible 3D creations are made possible thanks to a machine shop at the UConn School of Engineering.
On behalf of the Connecticut Convergence Institute, we would like to thank all of our fellow healthcare professionals who are working around the clock to help keep our community safe.