Lectures

2017 Moorehead-Laurencin Sex and Gender Research Forum

By Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D.

2017 Moorehead-Laurencin Sex and Gender Research ForumThe Helen I. Moorehead-Laurencin, M.D., Sex and Gender Research Forum is a very important program of the Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership at Drexel University. This year’s forum took place on March 8, International Women’s Day. This interactive program highlighted Drexel’s interdisciplinary research focused on sex and gender in a local, national and global context. I was excited to give the forum’s opening speech and introduce my beloved late mother, Dr. Helen Laurencin, to the attendees. It was well attended by students, faculty, and staff who represented several different schools and colleges at Drexel, as well as many members of the community. The Forum also received media coverage from the local ABC affiliate, WPVI-TV.

I want to congratulate the Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership at Drexel for putting on such a fine forum. View the Forum.

Distinguished Professor at Widener University

Distinguished Professor at Widener University

By Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D.

On April 4, I was really honored to be the keynote speaker for the 2017 Distinguished Professor Lecture Series at the Widener University School of Engineering. During my talk, I shared my insights on “regenerative engineering” – the convergence of advanced materials science, stem cell science, physics, developmental biology, and clinical transition. Particularly, I focused on our current work on musculoskeletal tissue regeneration using polymeric nanofiber systems and stem cells. Thank you to Dr. Fred Akl, dean of the School of Engineering, and Dr. Rudy Treichel, associate dean, for hosting such a visit and lecture for me.

Dr. Noreen J. Hickok Speaks at the IRE Seminar Series

By Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D.

On February 10, we were honored to have Dr. Noreen Hickok, associate professor of orthopaedic surgery and biochemistry & molecular biology at Thomas Jefferson University, speak as part of the Institute for Regenerative Engineering Seminar Series. Dr. Hickok delivered a talk entitled “Orthopaedic Implants and Infection: Surfaces, Synovial Fluid, and the Joint Environment.”

Dr. Hickok was one of my collaborators at Drexel University, and we published a research article in Journal of Orthopaedic Research. For the last 15 years, she and her colleagues have been exploring various means for preventing the establishment of infection in the presence of an implant. Dr. Hickok’s research interests center on strategies to subvert the ability of microorganisms to colonize these implants, as well as to prevent their propagation in the space immediately surrounding the implant. She received a Bachelor of Science from MIT and a Ph.D. from Brandeis University. Her postdoctoral research involved protein biochemistry, molecular endocrinology, and molecular biology. Her interest in cellular/bacterial interactions with surfaces and their regulation now dominates her research, resulting in the development of antibacterial surfaces that are while maintaining cellular compatibility as well as new insights on the role of the implant environment.

We look forward to bringing other leaders in regenerative engineering to speak as part of this seminar series here at UConn Health.

Two Genes Lectureship at Northwestern

By Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D.

I was honored to give the prestigious Two Genes Lecture at the Northwestern University School of Engineering. The lectureship is named after two past distinguished biomaterials scientists at Northwestern, Eugene W. Skinner and Eugene P. Lautenschlager. I discussed the work currently going on at the Institute for Regenerative Engineering including our newest initiative, the Hartford Engineering a Limb (HEAL) project. As a visiting professor at Northwestern, I had the opportunity to spend time with my longtime colleagues and friends, Professor Guillermo Ameer and Professor Sam Stupp. Both are great leaders in Biomedical Engineering. It was particularly gratifying for me to meet the graduate students at Northwestern. They are a highly skilled and dedicated group. I am grateful in particular to Professor Evan Scott, a young star in biomedical engineering whom I’ve met at national scientific meetings. He helped host me and provided a gracious introduction to my lecture.

Research!America’s Mary Woolley Visits UConn Health

By Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D.

Research!America’s Mary Woolley Visits UConn Health

On December 16th, Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America, the nation’s largest nonprofit public education and advocacy alliance, gave a presentation in Low Learning Center as part of the CICATS Luncheon Seminar Series. It was hosted by CICATS and the Kavli Foundation.

As the CEO of CICATS, I had the pleasure of introducing Ms. Woolley, and she spoke about the importance of advocacy and how scientists should do more to build relationships with their elected officials and policymakers. She referenced the recent passage of the “21st Century Cures” bill as proof that forging relationships can produce positive results. Watch her talk in its entirety.

After the seminar, we toured the Institute for Regenerative Engineering and celebrated the great work and philanthropy of our common friends, Raymond and Beverly Sackler for whom our endowed center is named.

Speaking at the American Chemical Society Committee on Minority Affairs Luncheon

By Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D.

Last month, I was really honored to be the keynote speaker the American Chemical Society’s Committee on Minority Affairs Luncheon in Philadelphia. I discussed my thoughts on developing students to work in the area of STEM. My parents inspired me to study medicine and engineering so I hope by speaking at the American Chemical Society, I can encourage and insprire many young people to follow my path.

The Committee on Minority Affairs (CMA) aims to lead change in institutional culture within the American Chemical Society (ACS) and the chemical enterprise and achieve full participation and expression of intellectual and creative capacity of underrepresented minorities.

Speaking at the American Chemical Society Committee on Minority Affairs Luncheon

Speaking at Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Cato Laurencin speaking at Johns Hopkins UniversityBy Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D.

On March 17, it was a great pleasure to give a talk at Johns Hopkins University as part of its Postdoctoral Affairs Lecture Series. During my visit, I met with a number of postdoctoral researchers and graduate students in educational and training programs related to bone regenerative engineering. While postdoctoral fellows and graduate students have become the backbone of the research enterprise, we share responsibility for providing them with appropriate research training and career development guidance. I really enjoyed sharing some principles for success and personal philosophies in terms of successfully developing young people.

Speaking at NIH

On March 16, it was a great pleasure and, even more, an honor for me to speak at NIH in Maryland as part of the Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series (WALS). WALS is the highest profile lecture program at NIH, with each session including some of the pioneers in biomedical and behavioral research. The title of my speech was “Bone Regenerative Engineering: A Convergence Approach,” and I detailed many aspects of our regenerative engineering work including the HEAL Project. Many thanks to NIH for inviting me. I also want to thank them for continuous support on our research programs here at UConn Health.

2016 Joint Annual Southeast/Southwest Regional Meeting

By Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D.

Last week, I had the honor and privilege of being the main keynote speaker at a regional meeting organized by the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE). The theme for the meeting is STEMulating Innovation from Discovery to Application. This regional meeting provided numerous opportunities to learn from peers and colleagues about their latest scientific findings in the STEM fields. My keynote lecture, “Regenerative Engineering: Theory and Practice” was held at the Louisiana State University. The object of my lecture is to highlight the increasing convergence between engineering, biology, and medicine. This meeting was packed with technical and professional development sessions, and industrial spotlights. Thank you to Dr. Marsha Cole, NOBCChE Southwest Regional Chair, for organizing such a nice meeting

National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE)

National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE)

Convergence Workshop in Washington, DC

Convergence workshop in Washington, DCAs part of the Convergence: The Future of Health Workshop, I contributed some remarks to the “Challenges in Funding Convergence” panel held in Washington DC on March 25th. During this section, I discussed about my experiences finding funding for engineering research in the biomedical sciences.  I  shared some success stories from individuals in the Institute for Regenerative Engineering which focused on how engineers and physicists receive funding from federal agencies, as well as how they were treated by peer review at federal funding sources. I also provided several recommendations as to how the funding and review system could be changed to better include engineers and physicists who conduct convergence research.

My mentor, Dr. Robert Langer of MIT, started the session with some information about funding sources for convergent biomedical research with an emphasis on engineers, and also recalled his efforts funding his research over the years.

Thanks to Dr. Kate Stoll, Senior Policy Advisor of MIT’s Washington office, for inviting me.