Month: April 2019

Dr. Laurencin inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Society

The UConn School of Medicine community gathered together on April 24 to celebrate the inaugural class of fourth-year medical students elected to its new Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society (AΩA) chapter. UConn faculty and medical residents also elected to join AΩA were honored.

As the 130th active chapter, UConn joins medical schools throughout the U.S. in the society recognizing and promoting the highest ideals of medicine. Member election to AΩA chapter is an honor that signifies excellence and commitment to scholarship, leadership, professionalism, and service.

The roots of UConn’s new Connecticut Beta chapter was first established in 2016. It is only the second chapter to be established in the state since Yale School of Medicine’s Alpha chapter was founded in 1920.

As an active AΩA chapter, each year UConn School of Medicine can nominate the top 25 percent of its medical school class to become members of the professional medical organization within their senior year. Of that 25 percent, up to 16 percent of the total medical school class may be elected into the society.

Elected members of the inaugural chapter class include:

Class of 2019 medical students

  • Alexis Cordone
  • Madeline Coulter
  • Brett Diamond
  • Jeremy Grenier
  • Laura Hatchman
  • Austen Katz
  • Ardian Latifi
  • Julianna Lau
  • Rebecca Maher
  • Lisa O’Donovan
  • Roshni Patel
  • Mary Soyster
  • Ishan Tatake
  • Kristin Torre
  • Katelyn Wong


  • Sarah Lopez, family medicine
  • Christian Mosebach, internal medicine
  • Prateek Shukla, primary care
  • Jessica Tuan, internal medicine


  • Cato T. Laurencin, University Professor at UConn, the Albert and Wilda Van Dusen Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at UConn School of Medicine, and director of the Institute for Regenerative Engineering and The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Center for Biomedical, Biological, Physical, and Engineering Sciences at UConn Health
  • Edwin L. Zalneraitis, professor of pediatrics and neurology and director of the pediatric residency program at UConn School of Medicine and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center

Alpha Omega Alpha was founded in 1902 by a small group of medical students led by William Webster Root at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Chicago. Its premier membership has included 57 Nobel Laureates, 11 Surgeons General of the U.S. and nearly seventy-five percent of deans of U.S. medical schools. Since its founding, AΩA has elected more than 185,000 members worldwide.

The mission of AΩA is dedicated to the belief that the profession of medicine will improve care for all patients by recognizing high educational achievement, honoring gifted teaching, encouraging the development of leaders in academia and the community, supporting the ideals of humanism and promoting service to others.

Convergence Institute Grad Students Volunteer at STEAM Expo



A few members of the labs at the CT Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering helped to motivate young students towards careers in the sciences by volunteering at a S.T.E.A.M. Expo hosted by the Urban League of Greater Hartford Young Professionals at the University of Hartford on April 20th. The Graduate Students worked with youngsters to create hands on activities that would inspire curiosity about science.  Pictured from left to right are: Leila Daneshmandi, Guleid Awale, Aundrya Montgomery, Marley Pitter, and Mohammed Barajaa.

Dr. Cato Laurencin Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Cato Laurencin has just been elected as a member of the renowned American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Laurencin, who is being honored for his work as a pioneer in the field of regenerative engineering, is the first UConn Health faculty member to be elected.

Dr. Laurencin is a surgeon in orthopaedic surgery, as well as a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, professor of materials science and engineering, and professor of biomedical engineering. His innovative research regarding the growth and regeneration of bone, ligaments and other musculoskeletal tissues has spanned across 25 years.

“I am very honored and humbled to be elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. I thank my mentors especially Professor Robert Langer, and my students who continually inspire me,” he said.  Read the full article about Dr. Laurencin’s election to the AAAS in UConn Today.


Dr. Lakshmi Nair Represents UConn at NAI Annual Meeting

Associate Director of the CT Convergence Institute, Dr. Lakshmi Nair, recently represented UConn at the National Academy of Inventors Annual Meeting.

The Academy aims to recognize, honor and cultivate academic innovation and entrepreneurship.

The theme for this year’s Annual Meeting was “Connecting the Innovation Community” and the conference promoted networking between innovative thought leaders to assist in propelling and transforming the innovation ecosystem. 

Dr. Lakshmi Nair is pictured here with Michele Tyrpak, JD, from the University of South Florida and Dr. Christine Schmidt, from the University of Florida.

Dr. Lakshmi Nair is pictured here with Paul Rosenthal, Deputy Chief Communications Officer of the USPTO, Dr. Bahram Javidi, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UConn, and a representative from the National Academy of Inventors.

Member of CT Convergence Institute Featured on UConn Today

Leila Daneshmandi, a Graduate Student member of the CT Convergence Institute, is pictured here with her peer from Biomedical Engineering, Armin Tahmasbi Rad. Leila and Armin have partnered together to use the concepts of tissue engineering to help cancer patients.

The duo has developed an innovative “tumor-on-a-chip system that takes a patient’s tumor cells and grows them outside of the body to test different cancer treatments”.

This development could help prevent cancer patients from having to endure several different trial and error treatments that are not effective for their particular tumor.  Leila acknowledged that “[t]his process of determining which drug a patient responds to best, is lengthy and is one of the major reasons why many lives are lost.”

The two students are putting their entrepreneurial skills to work in order to launch their innovative system and hopefully begin clinical trials soon.

For more detail on their new technology, read the entire UConn Today article.

Member of Institute Invited to Join Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society

Kenneth Ogueri is a member of the CT Convergence Institute at UCHC and a Graduate Student in Materials Science and Engineering at UConn. 

He was recently invited to join Phi Kappa Phi, the prestigious honor society which is a global network of scholars from all academic disciplines.

An Induction Ceremony was held on Monday, April 15th .

Congratulations Kenneth!



Laurencin Fellows / Lab Members attend Society for Biomaterials event


A group of Laurencin Fellows, and Lab Members of Dr. Laurencin’s CT Convergence Institute at UConn Health Center, gather for a photo at the 2019 Society for Biomaterials Meeting in Seattle.


Pictured, clockwise from left to right:

  • Faye Assanah, member of the CT Convergence Institute
  • Sydney Wimberley, 2019 Laurencin Fellow awardee
  • Nicole Friend, former Laurencin Fellowship winner
  • Anupama Prabhath, member of the CT Convergence Institute
  • Timothy Mason, former Laurencin Fellowship winner
  • Dr. Edward Botchwey, a mentee of Dr. Laurencin, and current Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech
  • Dr. Cato Laurencin
  • Leila Daneshmandi, member of the CT Convergence Institute
  • Xiaoyan Tang, former student of Dr. Laurencin at UConn
  • Dr. Yusuf Khan, member of the CT Convergence Institute
  • (center) Kai Clarke, 2019 Laurencin Fellow awardee