REM Alumni Wins Best Poster Presentation Award at the Emerging Researchers National Conference

REM Student at ERN Conference

 

The Connecticut Convergence Institute is proud to announce that Liahna Gonda-King, of the REM program won the “Best Poster Presentation Award” at the Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in STEM that took place in Washington D.C. last week. Liahna participated in the REM program of summer 2019 and is currently a high school teacher.

Liahna’s work entitled “Enhancing The Porosity of Sintered Microsphere Scaffold Systems in situ” focused on combining microsphere made from low and fast degrading polymers within the same construct as an approach to enhance the porosity of sintered microsphere scaffold systems in situ for more bone ingrowth. She shows that combining these microspheres could rapidly enhance the porosity of sintered microsphere scaffold systems while maintaining adequate mechanical properties and neutral pH levels.

The Research Experience and Mentoring (REM) program aims to mentor students from diverse backgrounds to prepare them for careers in STEM-related disciplines. The program recruits high school students, undergraduate students, and teachers in professional development to provide them with skills including communications, scientific writing, and collaboration, while providing a high quality research experience.

Dr. Laurencin Provides the Henry A. Hill Lecture in Cambridge, MA

On February 13th, Dr. Laurencin provided the Henry Hill Lecture which took place at the joint meeting of the Northeast Region of National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers and Northeast Section of the American Chemical Society. The event was held at Pfizer in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The meeting featured a NESACES Board Meeting, followed by dinner and the presentations of the Henry A. Hill award and lecture. The Award for Outstanding Service went to James E. Phillips, while the lecture was facilitated by Dr. Cato T. Laurencin. The title of his presentation was “Regenerative Engineering: A Convergence Approach for Grand Challenges”.

Henry A. Hill Lecture- Dr. Henry Aaron Hill, the renowned chemist was a former Chairman of the American Chemical Society Northeast Section and the first African American President of the American Chemical Society. Dr. Hill’s outstanding contributions to chemistry, particularly industrial chemistry, and to the professional welfare of chemists are legendary. Dr. Hill’s first concern and interest was always in his fellow humans, and this was the driving force behind all that he did both in the chemical community and the world at large. In recognition of his many outstanding achievements NOBCChE identifies an outstanding Scientist or Engineer to be designated as the Henry A. Hill Distinguished Lecturer.

Dr. Laurencin is the First American to Win the UNESCO-Equatorial Guinea International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences

UNESCO

 

 

This past weekend Dr. Cato T. Laurencin received the 2019 UNESCO-Equatorial Guinea International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences, becoming the first American to earn this prestigious award. The ceremony took place during the Africa Union Heads of States Summit located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The Prize is awarded to a maximum of three laureates who have made significant efforts through scientific research towards improving the quality of human life. Dr. Laurencin was formally selected by the UNESCO Director-General for his fundamental contributions in the field of regenerative engineering, a field he has pioneered. He is known worldwide as a leader in biomaterials, nanotechnology, stem cell science, drug delivery systems, and regenerative engineering.

During Dr. Laurencin’s acceptance remarks, he stated “I am proud, humbled and invigorated to receive the only International Prize in Science given by the continent of Africa. As the first person from the African Diaspora to receive this award, I am re-dedicated to expanding the new field I have founded of Regenerative Engineering, creating new solutions for the world.”

At the University of Connecticut, Dr. 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.

In 2016, Dr. Laurencin received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the highest honor bestowed in America for technological achievement, presented by the President of the United States. He received 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.” In addition, he has also 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.

Dr. Laurencin is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is the first person to win the oldest honors of both the National Academy of Engineering (the Simon Ramo Founders Award), and the National Academy of Medicine (the Walsh McDermott Medal). He 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, the Indian National Academy of Sciences, the 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.

Dr. Kevin Lo and REM Students Attend Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in STEM

ERN Conference

 

Dr. Kevin Lo and REM students attended the annual Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in Washington D.C. this past weekend. The conference is for undergraduate and graduate students who participate in programs funded by the NSF HRD Unit, including underrepresented minorities and persons with disabilities.

The objectives of the conference are to help undergraduate and graduate students to enhance their science communication skills and to better understand how to prepare for science careers in a global workforce. The 2-1/2 day conference includes student poster and oral presentations.

About the REM Students- The Research Experience and Mentoring (REM) program aims to mentor students from diverse backgrounds to prepare them for careers in STEM-related disciplines. The program recruits high school students, undergraduate students, and teachers in professional development to provide them with skills including communications, scientific writing, and collaboration, while providing a high quality research experience.

Each summer, participants in the REM program are welcomed at UConn Health for research training. Participants learn the basic aspects of research including research problem identification, experimental design, and execution. Our laboratories have researchers at all levels (post-docs, grad students, undergraduate and faculty members) so there is an opportunity to learn from a variety of scientists.

The CT Convergence Institute Supports Go Red Day

Go Red Day

 

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women. It claims more women’s lives than all forms of cancer combined. Heart disease and stroke can affect a woman at any age. In fact, new research shows heart attacks are on the rise in younger women.

The members of the Connecticut Convergence Institute wear red to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease and support the American Heart Association.

On the first Friday of every February, which is designated as American Heart Month, the nation comes together, igniting a wave of red from coast to coast. From landmarks to news anchors and neighborhoods to online communities; this annual groundswell unites millions of people for a common goal: the eradication of heart disease and stroke.

Dr. Laurencin Selected as One of the Top 100 Inspiring Black Scientists in America

The CT Convergence Institute is proud to announce that our CEO, Dr. Cato Laurencin, was selected as one of the top 100 Inspiring Black Scientists in America by Cell Press. Cell Press is a leading publisher of cutting-edge biomedical and physical science research and reviews. They publish over 50 scientific journals across the life, physical, earth, and health sciences. Among the list are 75 investigators that range from Assistant Professors to Professors. He is the only Professor from UConn to make the list.

View the full article

Congratulations Dr. Laurencin!

Dr. Laurencin Meets with the Congressional Black Caucus to Discuss the Future of the National Roundtable

Dr. Cato Laurencin and Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett

 

Dr. Laurencin recently met with the Congressional Black Caucus to discuss the National Roundtable on Black Men and Black Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine. The Roundtable focuses on the barriers and opportunities encountered by Black men and Black women as they navigate the pathways from K-12 and postsecondary education to careers in science, engineering, and medicine. Roundtable goals are to:

  • Compile and discuss quantitative and qualitative data relevant to the representation and experiences of Black men and Black women in science, engineering, and medicine;
  • Convene a broad array of stakeholders representing higher education, industry, health care, government, private foundations, and professional societies;
  • Highlight promising practices for increasing the representation, retention, and inclusiveness of Black men and Black women in science, engineering, and medicine;
  • Advance discussions that can lead to increasing systemic change.

Pictured in the above photo is Congresswoman Stacey E. Plaskett, who represents the United States Virgin Islands’ at-large Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. Stacey currently serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the House Committee on Agriculture. She is also a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, where she serves as Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on the Interior, Energy, and Environment.

Dr. Ruano Presents at the CT Forum on DNA Testing and Genomic Medicine

Dr. Gualberto Ruano, Assistant Director of Special Projects at The Connecticut Convergence Institute, was recently invited to present at the CT Legislative Forum on DNA Testing and Genomic Medicine. The forum took place at the CT Legislature on January 23rd. Amongst various leading names in medicine, Dr. Ruano represented UConn Health and discussed precision pain management with genetic clinical decision support.

During this forum, the topics of interest were:

  • How are genetic tests, genomic medicine and precision medicine changing the landscape of healthcare?
  • How can healthcare professionals ensure equal access, treatment, privacy and safety for patients’ health and health data using genomic and precision medicine?
  • What are best practices, if any?
  • What role does the state have in the ethical, legal, and social implications of testing and genomic and precision medicine?

Panels:

  • Researchers from Yale, UConn, The Jackson Laboratory
  • Clinicians from UConn/UCH, Hartford Healthcare and others
  • Patients and Consumers
  • Representatives of genetic testing companies including 23andMe and SEMA4
  • Genetic Counselors from My Gene Counsel and others
  • Payor organizations including Anthem, CIGNA and DSS
  • Health Data Managers from Office of Health Strategy, YNHH and UCONN Health
  • Experts on the bioethics of testing