Month: September 2018

November Science Cafe: Genetic Engineering

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.

Genetic engineering and synthetic biology are relatively new fields that are gaining media attention and causing great amounts of debate – both from the scientific and ethical points of view. Attendees at this November cafe will hear background knowledge for rational, evidence-based discussion of the topic. Representatives from UConn iGem will speak about their work and Mark Mimee of the MIT Synthetic Biology Group will speak more about the topic. Cafes are intended to be interactive, so audience questions and participation is greatly encouraged.

The Cafe speakers believe expert driven education is crucial to furthering the field and for cultivating public trust in researchers. They aim to discuss what challenges face synthetic biology, ethical risks posed by developing technologies in the field, and what the expansion of such research could have in store. Topics of discussion include, but are not limited to, genetically modified crops (GMOs), the possibility of genetic modifications in humans, biosecurity, novel applications of genetic technologies, and the development of newer and cheaper methods.

Topic: Genetic Engineering

When: Friday, November 16th, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Where: Hilltop Restaurant, 39 Adamec Rd, Willington, CT 06279

Cost: FREE

RSVP: Please use this link to RSVP for this science cafe.

For questions please contact


YIIP Scholars Meet Dr. Stacey Finley

CICATS Young Innovative Investigator Program (YIIP) Scholars had a special meeting with Dr. Stacey Finley during Postdoc Research Day at UConn. Dr. Finley is Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering and the Gordon S. Marshall Early Career Chair at the University of Southern California. She provided the keynote address at the event and spoke about systems biology modelings ability to predict the dynamics of reaction networks in cancer.

Learn more about YIIP here.

CICATS Attends BioFabUSA 2018 Fall Summit

CICATS staff member Dr. Kevin Lo attended the 2018 BioFabUSA Fall Summit held at the Technology Center Auditorium in Manchester, New Hampshire. The summit is organized by the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI) and this years topic was: Accelerating the Commercialization of Engineered Organs and Tissues.

Dr. Lakshmi Nair, Associate Professor, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, UConn Health Center and Dr. Liisa T. Kuhn, Associate Professor & Associate Head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering in the School of Dental Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center, also attended the summit. Dr. Kuhn’s presentation was titled Standardization Strategies to Advance the Biofabrication Industry.

For more information about ARMI visit their website.

Dr. Cato Laurencin Selected One of the Top 100 Blacks in CT

CICATS is very proud to announce that our CEO, Dr. Cato Laurencin, was selected as one of the top 100 Blacks in Connecticut by the State Conference of NAACP Branches. He was honored at an event held at Foxwoods on Saturday, September 22nd.

“We are thrilled to honor Black men and women in Connecticut who are making a difference in our communities,” said NAACP State President Scot X. Esdaile. “This event gives us the opportunity to reflect on our important victories over the NAACP’s past 109 Years, strengthen old relationships and create new ones, as we prepare to continue to take on the constant challenges that face our people on a daily basis.”

To learn more you can watch this video from WTNH.

CICATS Participates in Urban League Backpack Event

CICATS was a proud sponsor of the Urban League of Greater Hartford Young Professionals annual back to school giveaway event. This event provides backpacks and back to school supplies to those in need. The event featured family fun activities as well as booths from various community organizations. CICATS provided an interactive table display that asked kids their ideas about how to regenerate a limb.

CICATS Welcomes Six New Young Innovative Investigator Program Scholars

The Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (CICATS) at the University of Connecticut announces the selection of six new Young Innovative Investigator Program (YIIP) Scholars. These new YIIP Scholars are college graduates prepared to complete graduate level coursework and conduct supervised research in biomedical laboratories on the UConn Health campus.

YIIP, which began in 2013, aims to provide academic training 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. YIIP Scholars earn a stipend through their employment as UConn Graduate Assistants and tuition expenses associated with required graduate level courses are waived.

“YIIP is an essential program for CICATS,” said Dr. Cato Laurencin, CICATS CEO. “The program provides tools for Scholars to conduct research, succeed in an academic environment, and become competitive candidates for medical or graduate school. Increasing the number of underrepresented minority students in the fields of science and medicine is one of our primary goals as an Institute.”

This will be the third cohort of YIIP Scholars. The 2018 Scholars are:

  • John Garcia, University of Connecticut
  • Joshua Green, Southern Connecticut State University
  • Anisha Lewis, Brown University
  • Jaliyah Peterson, Spelman College
  • Kaussar Rahman, Mount Holyoke College
  • Savannah Samuel, Xavier University Of Louisiana

Mentoring is a key component of YIIP and each Scholar is currently in the process of selecting a UConn scientist to serve as their mentor. Additionally, YIIP Scholars have access to CICATS M1 Mentors Dr. Jennifer Cavallari of UConn Health, Dr. Nicholas Leadbeater of UConn, Storrs, and Dr. William Zempsky of the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

“Mentoring has proven highly beneficial for the success of underrepresented minority students across the entire academic pipeline,” said Lana Angelo, YIIP Program Coordinator. “Our program teaches the Scholars how to select the right mentor and lab placement, and we guide these students every step of the way during their time at the UConn Graduate School.”

To learn more about CICATS Young Innovative Investigator Program please visit our website.