American Chemical Society Holds Symposium in Honor of University Professor Cato T. Laurencin

On March 19, the American Chemical Society held the Kathryn C. Hach Award for Entrepreneurial Success Symposium in honor of Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, who is the University Professor, Albert and Wilda Van Dusen Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, and chief executive officer of The Cato T. Laurencin Institute for Regenerative Engineering at the University of Connecticut. Read more on UConn Today.

The Plastics Hall of Fame to Induct Dr. Cato T. Laurencin

University Professor Cato T. Laurencin, chief executive officer of The Cato T. Laurencin Institute for Regenerative Engineering and the Albert and Wilda Van Dusen Distinguished Endowed Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Connecticut, will be inducted into The Plastics Hall of Fame.

The Plastics Hall of Fame is the ultimate recognition for a lifetime body of work of an individual whose dedication and exceptional achievements have contributed to the growth and prominence of the industry on a global scale. The induction ceremony will take place May 5 in Orlando, Florida.

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Dr. Cato T. Laurencin to Receive Augustus White Founders Award

The J. Robert Gladden Orthopaedic Society (JRGOS) has selected Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D., to be the first recipient of the Augustus A. White III Founders Award. The award ceremony will be held during the 2024 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons meeting in San Francisco, CA. The JRGOS Augustus White Founders Award “recognizes the recipient’s exceptional contributions to advancing culturally sensitive musculoskeletal care while promoting diversity within Orthopaedics and exemplifying an unswerving commitment to excellence in the field.”

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Dr. Cato T. Laurencin at the IPOEF Awards Celebration

On December 6th, Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, the University Professor and Albert and Wilda Van Dusen Distinguished Endowed Professor at the University of Connecticut, was named Inventor of the Year for 2023 at the Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation (IPOEF) Awards Celebration. Dr. Laurencin is being honored for his pioneering contributions in the field of Regenerative Engineering which have led to the use of polymeric biomaterials in treating musculoskeletal conditions. Known as a leader in his field, Dr. Laurencin has also previously received the Priestly Medal for Chemistry, the Von Hippel Award for Materials Science, and the Jay Bailey Award for Biological Engineering.

The IPOEF Awards Celebration recognizes accomplishments in the fields of intellectual property (IP), innovation, and creativity and brings together IP professionals, judges, government officials, representatives from Capitol Hill, and attendees from companies and law firms around the world. The celebration honored individuals among four categories:

  1. Inventor of the Year: Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, University Professor, University of Connecticut
    The Inventor of the Year Award recognizes the world’s most outstanding recent inventors and how they benefit the nation’s economy and quality of life. Dr. Laurencin is being honored as the 50th Inventor of the Year for his pioneering contributions in the field of Regenerative Engineering. Dr. Laurencin has distinguished himself from the current strategies to address musculoskeletal conditions by establishing the field of regenerative engineering to develop ways for people to regrow injured tissue and bone. He says “I am honored to receive this award. The field of Regenerative Engineering I founded has already produced impressive new technologies that have directly benefited people. Our work continues in complex tissue regeneration with the hope of creating even more breakthrough discoveries.”
  2. Executive of the Year: Sandra Leung, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Bristol Myers Squibb
    The Executive of the Year Award is given to an individual for their commitment to the creation, promotion, and protection of intellectual property. Newly appointed CEO Dr. Christopher Boerner commented on Ms. Leung receiving the award. “What really distinguishes Sandy is her focus on integrity, being a true partner to the business and her dedication to our mission at BMS to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. This award underscores the critical role of IP in ensuring that BMS and the biopharmaceutical industry can continue to bring new medicines to patients. Sandy knows that protecting IP is critical to BMS and our industry overall, and she demonstrates this with her actions.”
  3. IP Champion: Irwin Jacobs, Cofounder and CEO Emeritus, Qualcomm
    The IP Champion Award recognizes extraordinary leadership in advocating for the value of IP to stimulate the progress of innovation. Dr. Jacobs founded Qualcomm in 1985 with six others and developed the technology underlying the rapid worldwide expansion of cell phone usage for voice and internet access. As CEO through 2005 and Chairman through 2009, he led the growth from startup to Fortune 500 Company, now with over 50,000 employees worldwide and more than 140,000 issued and pending patents. Dr. Jacobs noted that Qualcomm’s growth was due to the ability to innovate, patent their innovations and license them.
  4. Inspiration Award: Audrey Larson, Student, University of Connecticut
    The Inspiration Award recognizes individuals who have made an impact by promoting and championing IP rights for and on behalf of members of underrepresented communities. Audrey is only a junior at UConn and received two patents before she graduated high school. She says that she is inspired by frustration or anxieties that she has about different world issues and invention and innovation has been a positive way for her to channel those feelings into action. One of her many accomplishments includes launching an online inventors club to encourage students, particularly those isolated and underrepresented in their communities, to learn about innovation and propel their IP efforts forward.

Dr. Laurencin and Dr. Audrey Larson together, holding Laurencin's Inventor of the Year Award

Two New Students Join The Cato T. Laurencin Institute of Regenerative Engineering Master of Science in Regenerative Engineering Program

The Cato T. Laurencin Institute is delighted to introduce Robert Bunis and Gina Airoldi as our first MSc in Regenerative Engineering cohort. Their academic excellence and well-aligned applications marked them as outstanding candidates. The Master of Science in Regenerative Engineering program is intended to train a new transdisciplinary workforce for Regenerative Engineering. Regenerative Engineering is a new field defined as the convergence of advanced materials science, stem cell science, physics, developmental biology, and clinical translation for the regeneration of complex tissues and organ systems. The coursework and research projects of the program allow students to delve into the latest advancements, technologies, and challenges in this rapidly growing field.

Robert Bunis is a UConn alumnus with a degree in Biomedical Engineering and graduated Magna Cum Laude. Robert is passionate about the field. He states, “I would say that I joined the regenerative engineering program because of the ever-growing potential that regenerative engineering has. I have always been very interested in science and medicine and see a promising future regarding the use of stem cells and improving upon current medical technologies. I hope to make a positive impact on the medical community and research advancements that will help improve the lives of others.”

Gina Airoldi graduated from the University of Vermont with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering. Gina is also a part of the institute’s Young Innovative Investigator Program. Gina states, “It allows me to specialize my more broad “Biomedical Engineering” undergraduate degree. Being able to collaborate with UConn Health in Farmington and UConn in Storrs provides opportunities to learn from and work with experts in a variety of fields, allowing me to hone my medical and health interests while still utilizing engineering fundamentals. The research being done in Regenerative Engineering here at UConn and UConn Health is innovative and inspiring, and I truly believe this field will create new possibilities for medicine and saving lives.”

The primary inspiration behind such a program stem from the pressing need to develop novel solutions for diseases and injuries that currently have limited treatments. Whether it is a spinal cord injury, bone fractures, organ failure, or degenerative diseases, Regenerative Engineering offers hope for potentially groundbreaking treatments. The M.S. program is designed to equip the next generation of scientists and engineers with the necessary skills and knowledge to push the boundaries of what’s possible in regenerative medicine.

“I am excited to have these two impressive students be part of the institute”, said Dr. Cato Laurencin, CEO of The Cato T. Laurencin Institute for Regenerative Engineering at UConn.

Dr. Laurencin applauds three Regenerative Engineering Scientists honored by The Biomedical Engineering Society

In the month of October, three scientists in the field of regenerative engineering will be receiving awards from the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES). The winners are, Guillermo Ameer, Tejal Desai, and Jian Yang. Each winner will give a lecture at the 2023 BMES Annual Meeting in Seattle.

“I congratulate these three outstanding engineer/scientists who have made extraordinary contributions to Regenerative Engineering. It is wonderful to see their efforts recognized by the Biomedical Engineering Society and the biomedical community in general.,” said Dr. Cato Laurencin, CEO of The Cato T. Laurencin Institute for Regenerative Engineering at UConn, and Founder of the Regenerative Engineering Society.

Dr. Guillermo Ameer is the Director of the Center for Advanced Regenerative Engineering (CARE) at Northwestern University where he is the Daniel Hale Williams professor of Biomedical Engineering and Surgery at Northwestern University. He will be receiving the BMES Athanasiou Medal of Excellence in Translational Bioengineering Award (the Athanasiou Medal). This award recognizes achievements of an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the field of biomedical engineering with particular focus on translation.

Dr. Tejal Desai is the Sorensen Family Dean of Engineering Brown University. She will be receiving the Robert A. Pritzker Distinguished Lecture Award. This is the highest honor of the American Chemical Society. She is an accomplished biomedical engineer and academic leader who co-organized a Regenerative Engineering Society Rockstars Meeting.

Dr. Jian Yang is a Chair Professor in Biomaterials and Regenerative Engineering, and the chair of Biomedical Engineering Program at the Westlake University. He will be receiving the Wallace H. Coulter Award for Healthcare Innovation Award. This award recognizes achievements of an individual who is integrally involved in the development of a biomedical device, diagnostic test/device, or combination device drug/device in industry.