Month: August 2019

The Chinese and U.S. Societies for Biomaterials Invited Dr. Laurencin to Moderate the 2019 Chinese Biomaterials Congress and International Symposium on Advanced Biomaterials




Dr. Laurencin, an International Advisory Board Member, traveled to Beijing and Dalian, China to moderate the 2019 Chinese Biomaterials Congress and International Symposium on Advanced Biomaterials. The event was held in conjunction with:

As an invited guest speaker, Dr. Laurencin facilitated the flow of the event for the following lectures:

  • The Ambulatory Kidney to Increase Vitality (AKTIV): The Intersection of Biomaterials, Medical Devices, Translation, Regulation and Commercialization
  • Progresses on the Reform of Medical Device Evaluation System in China
  • New Perspectives on ISO 10993-1 VS FDA (2016) and ISO 10093-23
  • Progress of China Medical Device Standardization Administration

The Chinese Biomaterials Congress is held every other year. It is the biggest national biomaterials meeting in the world. The last congress in 2017 in Nanchang, China attracted over 2,500 attendees from academia, industry, clinical research institutes and governmental agencies.

The goals of the forums are to promote the international collaboration in the biomaterials field, and to create favorable opportunities for products and companies to enter the market of partner country. The discussion topics cover regulatory, standards, academic and clinical perspectives, regulatory science and industrial innovations.

Medical Surprise Anticipation and Recognition Capability (SARC)

Researchers at UConn Health have developed a new framework to improve the quality of healthcare by identifying and addressing unpredictable medical events before they emerge.

The new medical events preparedness strategy, Surprise Anticipation and Recognition Capability (SARC), is adapted from an established military strategy of the U.S. Navy. SARC is the brainchild of Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, CEO of the Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering at UConn Health. Laurencin recognized the demand for a SARC structure due to the nation’s medical practice evolving from a reactive to a proactive paradigm.

“The new SARC framework will be instrumental in healthcare quality improvement as it relates to preparedness and avoiding the negative effects of unexpected events,” says Laurencin.

According to Laurencin, the goal of SARC is to not only react to information provided to us, but to analyze, assess and prepare for circumstances that may arise unexpectedly, in effect, surprise.

At the heart of the SARC framework are the following three recommendations:

  1. Reduce the number of surprising events through planning.
  2. Develop strategies that establish resilience when confronted with surprise.
  3. Improve capabilities to coordinate a timely and effective response when unimagined circumstances occur.

“We are excited to implement this new structure and assess the beneficial outcomes that SARC will provide to the medical community.” says Dr. Randall C. Morgan, Executive Director of the W. Montague Cobb/National Medical Association Health Institute. SARC is a new strategy for the medical community to begin to consider, and provides the tools to mitigate even the extreme and low probability phenomenon, and provide a new paradigm for improved healthcare.


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Congratulations to our newest NIH R01 grant recipient, Dr. Lakshmi Nair, Associate Director of the CT Convergence Institute!

On behalf of the CT Convergence Institute, we are proud to announce that Dr. Lakshmi Nair recently received the first NIH R01 grant since the formation of the institute early this year. The grant focuses on “Novel Injectable Analgesic Delivery System for Musculoskeletal Pain Management.” As the Principal Investigator, Dr. Nair enlisted a team of renowned experts to assist her with this research project. The Investigative Team is as follows: Dr. Cato Laurencin, Dr. Kevin Lo, Dr. Joseph Walker and Dr. Kyle Baumbauer. Read more about the research here.

The National Institutes of Health R01 grant provides support for health-related research and development based on the mission of the NIH. The Research Project (R01) grant is a prestigious award made to support a discrete, specified, circumscribed project to be performed by the named investigator(s) in an area representing the investigator’s specific interest and competencies and is the gold standard for an established investigator in medical schools.

Drs. Wu and Ruano Present at the 2019 CHRO CT Health Equity Conference



Drs. Wu and Ruano represented The Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering at the 2019 Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities Connecticut Health Equity Conference held in the Massey Auditorium at UConn Health. With over 150 attendees, Dr. Wu and Dr. Ruano discussed “The JUMP Program for Moving the Community to Healthier Lifestyles.” Furthermore, Dr. Ruano addressed the impact of genetics on resilience genes and Dr. Wu discussed the importance of how increasing daily physical activity can lead to significant health benefits. Among the group of presenters, were four other industry experts that brought light to the following topics:

  • Creating Access to Care for Migrant Farm Worker Populations
  • Addressing Health Disparities for People Living with Mental Health Conditions
  • What Does Health Insurance Have To Do With It?

The mission of the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities is to eliminate discrimination through civil and human rights law enforcement and to establish equal opportunity and justice for all persons within the state through advocacy and education.

2019 CT Convergence Institute BUILDing Scholars Present Research Findings

2019 build scholars


The Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) Initiative provides awards to undergraduate institutions across the country to implement and study innovative approaches to engaging and retaining students from diverse backgrounds in biomedical research.  In 2014, the National Institute of Health (NIH) granted 10 five-year BUILD (Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity) awards.  The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) was one of the 10 core institutions to receive the award which led to the formation of the Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity: Southwest Consortium of Health-Oriented Education Leaders and Research Scholars (BUILDing Scholars) program. Under the UTEP BUILD award, there are 13 research partners, with UConn being the only academic institution in the Northeast.

The fourth cohort of BUILD Scholars recently completed their summer research experiences and in conclusion of the program, presented their research findings.

The names and final presentations of our BUILD Scholars are as follows:

Isaac Gandara– Lab of Anne Delany- “Evaluating Beta Catenin and Formin-Like 2 RNA as MicroRNA-29 Targets in Osteoclasts”

Isaac Gandara Isaac Gandara


Diana Moreno– Lab of Leslie Caromile- “Prostate-Specific Membrane Antigen Dependent Health Disparities in Prostate Cancer”

Diana Moreno Diana Moreno


Nickolas Ortiz– Lab of Rajkumar Verma- “Role of Kalirin in Post-Stroke Dementia”

Nickolas Ortiz Nickolas Ortiz


Priscilla Parada– Lab of David Steffens- “Susceptibility to Cognitive and Emotional Interference in Late Life Depression”

Priscilla Parada Priscilla Parada


Margarita Romero– Lab of Carol Pilbeam- “Prostaglandin E2 Regulation of RANKL Driven Serum Amyloid A3 Expression in Bone Marrow Microphages”

Margarita Romero Margarita Romero