Month: March 2018

April Science Cafe: The Philosophy of Science & Race

The Connecticut Convergence Institute hosts free science cafes with the Kavli Foundation on different scientific topics. Our science cafe series aims to bring science to members of the community in an engaging and informal way. You do not need to have a background in science to attend and enjoy these events.

For our April event, attendees will hear from four University of Connecticut faculty about racism and its impact on medicine, health equity and human experience. There will be ample time for discussion and Q&A. This event is free and all are invited to attend. Food and beverages will be provided.

Topic: The Philosophy of Science & Race: Racism and Its Impacts on Medicine, Health Equity, and Human Experience


When: Friday, April 27, 2018, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Where: Butchers and Bakers, 270 Farmington Avenue, Suite 101, Farmington, CT 06032

Note: There is plenty of free parking available in front of the restaurant. 

Pre-registration is closed. You may register at the event itself.

For questions please contact

Celebrating Excellence in Research

Pictured: State Rep. Edwin Vargas, State Rep. Bruce Morris and our CEO Dr. Cato Laurencin

On Friday, March 16th, we brought together 18 of our 23 Core Interest Groups (CIGs) with key stakeholders, legislators and members of the public, for a Science Café to celebrate innovation and excellence in research.

Our CIGs were developed to promote collaborative, trans-disciplinary research within the University of Connecticut and UConn Health and cover a wide variety of topics including women’s cancers, health disparities, aging research, child mental health and more. This event highlighted the work of each CIG as audience members listened to updates about their accomplishments and future goals.

During the event, our CEO Dr. Cato Laurencin presented an award to the Connecticut Legislative Black and Puerto Rican Caucus in honor of their support and commitment to the Institute.

This event was co-sponsored by The Kavli Foundation.

Describing Perceived Racial Bias Among Youth With Sickle Cell Disease

Dr. William Zempsky, co-leader of CICATS Sickle Cell Disease Core Interest Group and current M1 Scholar, has published a new paper in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology titled: Describing Perceived Racial Bias Among Youth With Sickle Cell Disease. According to the abstract, this is the first study of its kind to describe the racial bias experiences of youth with sickle cell disease and their reactions to these experiences.

To read the abstract and learn more visit the Journal’s website.

The roles of ions on bone regeneration

CICATS staff member Dr. Kevin Lo has published a new paper in the Drug Discovery Today journal titled: The roles of Ions on Bone Regeneration. Obum Umerah, a former summer research intern of Dr. Lo’s, is listed as a co-author. Highlights of this new research include:

  • Alternative bone regenerative therapeutics are needed.
  • Ions have been proposed to regenerate skeletal tissue.
  • Drug delivery systems have been studied to deliver ions for bone regeneration.

You can read the full article on the Drug Discovery Today website.

CICATS CEO Opens the Sex & Gender Research Forum at Drexel University

CICATS CEO Dr. Cato Laurencin gave the opening remarks at The Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership’s 2018 Helen I. Moorehead-Laurencin, MD Sex & Gender Research Forum at Drexel University. The interactive forum, held on International Women’s Day, highlighted Drexel’s interdisciplinary research focused on sex and gender in a local, national and global context.

Dr. Laurencin’s inspiring remarks payed tribute to his mother, Helen I. Moorehead-Laurencin, who this event is named after. Moorehead-Laurencin broke down barriers for women in medicine and was known for her passionate commitment to helping people. “She exemplified the best of what altruism and a thrill for knowledge and science can accomplish. She didn’t simply practice medicine, she lived it,” said Dr. Laurencin.

For more information about the conference visit the Drexel University website.

CICATS Congratulates Former Graduate Assistant for Successful Dissertation Defense

Yinghui Duan, a former CICATS Graduate Assistant, successfully defended her dissertation for the degree Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health on March 16, 2018. Her dissertation is titled “Use of Tamsulosin and the Risk of Psychiatric Disorders among Older Men with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia: a Retrospective Cohort Study Using Medicare Data from 2006 to 2012.”

Tamsulosin and the Risk of Dementia in Older Men with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

CICATS staff member Dr. Helen Wu has published a new research paper that suggests Tamsulosin might increase dementia risk in older men. Her paper appears in the March 2018 edition of Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety. In addition to her paper, the March edition features cover art submitted by Dr. Wu and her co-authors Dr. Yinghui Duan, Dr. James J. Grady and Dr. Peter C. Albertsen.

You can read the abstract, view the entire paper, and read Dr. Wu’s interview with Reuters Health News.

Past YIIP Scholar Trisha Kwarko Wins UConn School of Medicine Dean’s Award

Trisha Kwarko, a former Young Innovative Investigator Program (YIIP) scholar, has received a Dean’s Award from the UConn School of Medicine. This award is given in recognition of two outstanding medical student researchers and their faculty mentors. Awards of $250 each were presented to the four awardees. The awards to faculty mentors will be used for travel to a scientific meeting.

The aim of YIIP is to provide academic training at UConn to underrepresented minority students who are dedicated to pursuing careers as scientists and scholars in biological and biomedical science with the intent of developing the next generation of innovative biomedical scientists and increasing diversity among the pool of academic scientists.

“It was a pleasure to be part of Trisha’s early scientific career and to see her excel during and after her time with YIIP. We continue cheering her on and wish her the best of luck with all of her future endevours,” said Lana Angelo, YIIP Program Coordinator.

CICATS Staff Member Lana Angelo Celebrated During Women’s History Month

Four University of Connecticut employees have been selected as “Women of Inspiration” by the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF). CWEALF is a statewide nonprofit organization that advocates for and empowers women and girls in Connecticut, especially those who are underserved or marginalized. As part of their Women’s History Month celebration, CWEALF will be highlighting one woman of inspiration each day during March 2018 on their social media accounts.

The four UConn employees selected for this honor are:

Lana Angelo, Program Coordinator for the Young Innovative Investigator Program at the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, for her leadership in mentoring and training underrepresented students interested in biomedical research;
Sarah McAnulty, Ph.D. candidate in the Nyholm lab, for her pioneering leadership in creating the Skype a Scientist program;
Jessica McBride, Manager of Research Communications at the Office of the Vice President for Research, University of Connecticut, for her passion and commitment to highlighting innovative research discoveries; and,
Brandi Welles, Research Assistant at the Southeast HIV and AIDS Research and Evaluation (SHARE) project at the Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy (InCHIP), for her role in creating positive health outcomes for individuals with HIV and AIDS.

“There are so many women within the University of Connecticut deserving of recognition for their contributions to advancing scientific research, building the educational pipeline and creating better health outcomes for all communities. These four women are truly women of inspiration and I am thrilled to see them highlighted for Women’s History Month,” said Michelle Noehren of the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, who nominated these individuals.

To follow along and learn about each Woman of Inspiration visit CWEALF’s Facebook page.

Former CICATS Intern Publishes First Book

CICATS congratulates our former intern, Patrick McAllister, on the publication of his new book Highs & Lows of Type 1 Diabetes: The Ultimate Guide for Teens and Young Adults.

Patrick was inspired to write this book because of his own experience as a young adult with Type 1 diabetes. After his diagnosis at the age of 12, McAllister’s life changed forever and he faced an uncertain future of insulin shots, diet regulations, and high school. At the time, he longed for a road map to guide him through the challenges of his diagnosis but he had to learn everything the hard way.

Motivated to help others have a smoother transition after diagnosis, McAllister created the compassionate road map he once wished he had. Whether it is managing mood swings, hormones, or blood sugar levels, Highs & Lows of Type 1 Diabetes is the ultimate young adults handbook for surviving, thriving, and flourishing with Type 1 diabetes during one of the most terrifying, yet exciting, phases of life.

McAllister credits his internship with CICATS for preparing him to write and launch his book. “CICATS was my very first internship. It was the first time I had the freedom and responsibility to learn and work independently. My experiences at CICATS played huge role in the way I approached planning and writing my book. I was undoubtedly more methodical, proactive and confident because of my time there,” he said.

We know his new book will help so many young people and wish him the best as he finishes his studies at Saint Michael’s College and applies to medical school.