Month: July 2019

Dr. Laurencin Presents the Cato T. Laurencin Lifetime Research Achievement Award at the 117th National Medical Association Annual Convention and Scientific Assembly



Dr. Laurencin recently attended the National Medical Association Annual Convention and Scientific Assembly in Honolulu, Hawaii. The National Medical Association (NMA)’s Annual Convention and Scientific Assembly is acclaimed as the nation’s foremost forum on medical science and African American health. Each year, African American physicians and other health professionals from across the country convene to participate in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, discuss health policy priorities, and to share experiences through networking opportunities.

During the opening ceremonies Dr. Laurencin proudly presented the 2019 Cato T. Laurencin Lifetime Research Achievement Award to Dr. Griffin T. Rodgers, the Director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Dr. Rodgers has been a pioneering research investigator since 2007, and is widely recognized for his contributions to the development of the first effective—and now FDA approved—therapy for sickle cell anemia and was a principal investigator in clinical trials to develop therapy for patients with sickle cell disease.

The Cato T. Laurencin M.D., Ph.D. Lifetime Research Award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated more than 20 years of consistent, long-lasting contributions to benefit African Americans and to reduce heath disparities through recognized research and inquiry. The individual may be a physician, a career researcher or a distinguished educator who has enhanced the field of research and made it possible for young researchers to be successful.

Jordan Bernard of the High School Student Research Apprentice Program Presents Research Conducted in the CT Convergence Institute Lab

Jordan Bernard, a student in the High School Student Research Apprentice Program at UConn Health conducted six weeks of research in the CT Convergence Institute lab. Under the direction of Dr. Cato Laurencin, Jordan summarized his six weeks by presenting his research findings on Nailing the Foundation: Regenerative Engineering Approach to Traumatic Nail Injuries.   

The High School Student Research Apprentice Program is for 11th and 12th grade students interested in medicine, dental medicine or biomedical research. The program provides students with a research experience in one of the basic science or clinical laboratories and provides an earned stipend. As part of the program, all students are required to present their research at the High School Student Research Apprentice Program Symposium at the end of the six weeks.

The Connecticut Convergence Institute would like to wish Jordan all the best in the next stages of his educational career!

Each Year the Summer Seminar Series Continues to Grow!

  • sss1


During the past seven weeks many students eager to learn attended The Connecticut Convergence Institute Summer Seminar Series. The Summer Seminar Series offers free weekly seminars to all who are interested in pursuing careers as scientists as well as scholars in the fields of biological and biomedical sciences. The one hour academic enrichment seminars are led by UConn faculty members and have impacted over 300 individuals in the past four years. This summer’s topics included:

Thank you to all the UConn faculty that helped make these seminars a success. We look forward to hosting these wonderful seminars each summer!

The CT Convergence Institute Hosts Successful Health Café on Mental Resilience: Addiction

On Friday, July 19th the Connecticut Convergence Institute hosted an educational Health Café titled Mental Resilience: Addiction at the First Cathedral in Bloomfield. The event’s topic was handpicked by community members and attracted over 60 attendees eager to learn more. Dr. Surita Rao, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at UConn Health provided the keynote speech which was followed by a buffet style dinner along with giveaways for all who attended.

Thank you to the Aetna Foundation for sponsoring such an important event, and to everyone who participated.


Health Cafe logo

Dr. Laurencin joins the Society for Science & the Public New Honorary Board

Today, the Society for Science & the Public unveiled a new Honorary Board made up of distinguished scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs and innovators who are recognized leaders in their field. Dr. Laurencin is one of the 22 inaugural Honorary Board members. The Board will provide the Society with strategic guidance and input on scientific issues of importance to the Society. Established in 1921, the Society is a nonprofit whose vision is to promote the understanding and appreciation of science and the vital role it plays in human advancement: to inform, educate and inspire. Through its world-class competitions, including the Regeneron Science Talent Search, the International Science and Engineering Fair, and the Broadcom MASTERS, and its award-winning magazines, Science News and Science News for Students, the Society conveys the excitement of science and research directly to the public.

SFS and TP logo

Dr. Helen Wu and Melanie Burnat of The Connecticut Convergence Institute visit Hot 93.7 to promote the upcoming Health Café on Friday!

937 radio logoThis morning Dr. Helen Wu and Melanie Burnat visited Hot 93.7 radio to promote the upcoming Health Café event happening this Friday.  Accompanied by the HOT Morning Crew, DJ Buck, Genesis Robles and Stevey Newnez, they promoted the upcoming event focused on addiction. Watch the interview here.

The Health Café will take place this Friday the 19th from 6-8p.m. at the First Cathedral located at 1151 Blue Hills Avenue Bloomfield, CT. This event is completely free! Join us for an entry level educational seminar on Mental Resilience: Addiction. Free dinner and giveaways will be provided!

Get more information and RSVP to the event here.

Dr. Laurencin Delivers the Keynote Speech at the 34th Annual MD/PhD National Student Conference

Dr. Laurencin at MdPhD National Student Conference Dr. Laurencin and Jim Allison


On July 12th Dr. Laurencin attended the 34th Annual MD/PhD National Student Conference as a keynote speaker in Copper, Colorado. As the first keynote speaker of the 3-day event, he engaged the crowd with a powerful presentation on Regenerative Engineering: Convergence in Action.

Each year, the University of Colorado Medical Scientist Training Program sponsors and coordinates the National MD/PhD Student Conference. Organized by the 3rd year MSTP students, the conference provides an opportunity for MD/PhD students around the country to present their work and interact with other students and prominent scientific investigators. What began as a small meeting in 1986 has grown into a gathering of over 200 students, faculty, and alumni from over 60 academic institutions in the United States and Canada.

Throughout the event, Dr. Laurencin had a chance to meet with hundreds of impressive students along with 2018 Nobel Prize winner Jim Allison. Ph.D. Allison is the Chair of Immunology and Executive Director of the Immunotherapy Platform at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for launching an effective new way to attack cancer by treating the immune system rather than the tumor. Allison is the first MD Anderson scientist to receive the world’s most preeminent award for outstanding discoveries in the fields of life sciences and medicine.

Dr. Laurencin Presents at the 2019 NIH High-Risk High-Reward Research Symposium

  • nih hrhr2


In early June, Dr. Laurencin presented at the 2019 NIH High-Risk High-Reward Research Symposium on Regenerative Engineering: Convergence of Material Importance in Bethesda, Maryland. The symposium is open to the public and unites recipients of the NIH Director’s Pioneer, New Innovator, Transformative Research, and Early Independence awards to share their groundbreaking research and discoveries.

The symposium is sponsored by The NIH Common Fund whose programs address emerging scientific opportunities and pressing challenges in biomedical research that no single NIH Institute or Center can address on its own, but are of high priority for the NIH as a whole. The Common Fund is a unique resource at NIH, functioning as a “venture capital” space where high-risk, innovative endeavors with the potential for extraordinary impact can be supported. Common Fund programs are short-term, goal-driven strategic investments, with deliverables intended to catalyze research across multiple biomedical research disciplines.

Dr. Laurencin Hosts a Meet and Greet Style Luncheon for the 2019 REM Students

REM 2019 REM 2019 2


This afternoon, Dr. Laurencin and Dr. Lo welcomed the 2019 REM students with a meet and greet style luncheon. 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.

2019 Cohort:

  • Jason Addi
  • Ama Dondorful –Amos
  • Liahna Gonda-King
  • Princess Harmon
  • Hector Jiminez
  • Raady Rahman
  • Vigil Savon