Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D. is the 8th designated University Professor in the 135 year history of the University of Connecticut. He is the Albert and Wilda Van Dusen Distinguished Endowed Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery. He is the Chief Executive Officer of The Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering and the Director of the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Center for Biomedical, Biological, Physical and Engineering Sciences at the University of Connecticut.
Dr. Laurencin has been named to America’s Top Doctors for over 15 years. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the American Orthopaedic Association, the American College of Surgeons and the American Surgical Association. He received the Nicolas Andry Award, the highest honor of the Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons.
Dr. Laurencin is a pioneer of the new field, Regenerative Engineering. He was named one of the 100 Engineers of the Modern Era by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and received the Founder’s Award from the Society for Biomaterials. He received the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, NIH’s highest and most prestigious research award and the National Science Foundation’s Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation Grant Award. Dr. Laurencin is the Editor-in-Chief of Regenerative Engineering and Translational Medicine, and is the Founder of the Regenerative Engineering Society. He is a Fellow of the American Chemical Society, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Biomedical Engineering Society, the Materials Research Society and an AAAS Fellow. The American Association for the Advancement of Science awarded Dr. Laurencin the Philip Hauge Abelson Prize given ‘for signal contributions to the advancement of science in the United States’.
Dr. Laurencin is active in mentoring, especially underrepresented minority students. He received the American Association for the Advancement of Science Mentor Award, the Beckman Award for Mentoring, and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Math and Engineering Mentoring in ceremonies at the White House. The SFB established The Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D. Travel Fellowship in his honor. Dr. Laurencin is also active in addressing Health Disparities.
Dr. Laurencin is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is also active internationally.
Areas of Expertise (8)
Stem Cell Science and Technology
Polymeric Materials Science
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Drug Delivery System
MIT: Ph.D., Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology 1987
Harvard Medical School: M.D., Medicine 1987
Princeton University: B.S.E., Chemical Engineering 1980
- Chair, National Academies Roundtable on Black Men and Black Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine
- Elected Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
- Materials Science Working Group, The African Academy of Sciences
- Selection Committee Member, Johnson & Johnson Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research
- Edward Orton, Jr. Memorial Lecture (Highest Lectureship) American Ceramic Society
2021 NAACP Spingarn Medal (professional)
Named after the late J.E. Spingarn–then NAACP Chairman of the Board of Directors– this gold medal, awarded annually since 1915, honors “the man or woman of African descent and American citizenship who shall have made the highest achievement during the preceding year or years in any honorable field.”
U.S. National Academy of Sciences (professional)
Elected in recognition of distinguished and continuing achievements in original research
The Materials Research Society Von Hippel Award
The Materials Research Society’s highest honor, the Von Hippel Award, is conferred annually to an individual in recognition of the recipient’s outstanding contribution to interdisciplinary research on materials.
Nelson W. Taylor Lecture and Award
Recipient of the Acta Materialia, Inc. Gold Medal
Mike Hogg Award and Lecture, MD Anderson Cancer Center highest honor
Listed as CrossTalk’s 100 Inspiring Black Scientists in America
Recipient, E.E. Just Lecture Award, American Society for Cell Biology
Recipient, Global Biomaterials Leadership Award, Chinese Association of Biomaterials
Named to America’s Top Doctors (15th consecutive year)
Lee Hsun Lecture Award, Shenyang University, China
Media Appearances (30)
Our Lives: 2021 NAACP Spingarn Award recipient Dr. Cato Laurencin
News 12 tv
In Our Lives, News 12's Gwen Edwards talks with University of Connecticut professor Dr. Cato Laurencin, who will be the recipient of the 2021 NAACP Spingarn Award.
Two UConn professors elected to National Academy of Sciences
Hartford Courant print
Two UConn School of Medicine professors have been elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences in recognition of their pioneering research achievements. Laurinda A. Jaffe, professor and chair of the Department of Cell Biology, and Cato T. Laurencin, University Professor and Albert and Wilda Van Dusen Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, will join a 120-member NAS class that is for the first time half women and which includes nine Black scientists.
STEM’s racial, ethnic and gender gaps are still strikingly large
Science News online
The new Pew results are important but not surprising, says Cato Laurencin, a surgeon and engineer at the University of Connecticut in Farmington. “Why the numbers are where they are, I think, is maybe an even more important discussion.” The barriers to entering STEM “are very, very different with every group,” says Laurencin, who chairs the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Roundtable on Black Men and Black Women in Science, Engineering and Medicine. In particular, he says, “Blacks working their way through STEM education and STEM professions really face a gauntlet of adversity.” That runs the gamut from fewer potential STEM role models in school to workplace discrimination.
Cato T. Laurencin has Innovated Ways to Regrow Injured Tissues
Chemical & Engineering News online
For Cato T. Laurencin, being asked to choose between engineering and orthopedic surgery would be like having to choose which arm to cut off. These twin passions have driven his innovation in biomedical engineering, including many pioneering achievements in tissue regeneration. As a sports medicine fellow in the early 1990s, Laurencin saw a fair number of injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). This major knee ligament stabilizes the joint and is a common site of injuries, particularly in athletes. He believed there had to be a better way to address those injuries, and he thought the answer could come from using biomaterials to regenerate the ligament. One night, he sketched out a preliminary drawing of how he might do just that.
Connecticut’s Code Blue: Addressing the Black maternal health crisis, how to be an advocate
Dr. Cato Laurencin from UConn Health said the issue is structural, but there are solutions for this crisis in the state. “We see the same trends in Connecticut that are across the country,” said Dr. Laurencin. Education is key. “We need to educate our non-Black physicians on these issues and how their own biases, conscious, and unconscious can come into play in terms of how patients are being treated. We need to discuss it and we need to call it out and make it clear when it happens,” said Dr. Laurencin.
INTERVIEW: Improving minority vaccination rates
WFSB CT tv
Dr. Cato Laurencin, a surgeon and UConn professor, discusses how to improve the vaccination rates among minority communities
COVID-19's Ongoing Reach Into Colorado's Latino Community Stretches Far And Deep
Aspen Public Radio radio
Still, having testing data broken down by race and ethnicity could help direct resources to where they are needed, said Cato Laurencin, a university professor at the University of Connecticut. Laurencin’s early research showed that Black people in Connecticut were testing positive and were dying of COVID at rates that exceeded their share of the population. But Laurencin also said that Black people who were being tested for COVID tested positive at over three times the rate of their white counterparts. That, he said, suggested that Black people were not being adequately tested for COVID.
Inequality ‘surrounds you’: A Black doctor returns to hard-hit Louisiana after treating and contracting Covid-19 in New York
Cato Laurencin, an engineer, physician, and scientist at the University of Connecticut, who has researched the shortage of Black doctors extensively, said his studies confirm that the dearth of Black physicians hampers efforts to address disparities and improve access to care for all underserved populations. “We know that Black physicians provide more culturally competent care, which translates to better care,” he said. One study found, for example, that African American men with Black doctors agreed to more “invasive” preventive services, such as diabetes and cholesterol screening and a flu shot, than those with non-Black doctors.
Regenerative engineering, racial profiling and healthcare disparities: A titan of life science speaks
Cato T. Laurencin, the father of regenerative engineering and winner of the Herbert W. Nickens Award, talks launching a new field, mentorship and addressing disparities in healthcare.
Senior U.S. lawmaker wants National Academies to scrutinize racism in science
Science Magazine online
The roundtable is well-positioned to take on the type of study that Johnson has requested, says its chair, Cato Laurencin, a chemical engineer and orthopedic surgeon at the University of Connecticut. “We’re the only long-term group at the Academy looking at issues of Black racial justice and equity,” says Laurencin, who is a member of the national academies of both medicine and engineering. “It is completely within our wheelhouse, and we are very excited about the idea.”
COVID pool testing, would it work here?
Fox 61 tv
The Trump administration recently gave emergency authorization for a process called pooled testing. There are questions as to whether it can work here, but Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, The CEO of The Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering, said it’s already working elsewhere. “Places around the world are doing it, and it’s not that we have to discover it in able to use it, we have to be utilizing the strengths of other places, such as in the continent of Africa, in terms of what they’re doing right now,” Dr. Laurencin said.
COVID-19 and Black Communities
The National Academies online
One reason for the higher rates of infection is that Black workers are overrepresented in service industry jobs that put them in close contact with others, said Cato Laurencin, Roundtable chair and a professor at the University of Connecticut, who spoke about the factors shaping disparities. Another factor has been inconsistent and insufficient information from government. “Most Black Americans live in the South, where guidance by governors on how to stay safe was found to be inconsistent with guidelines of the federal government,” said Laurencin.
Black in America | How do we move forward after the death of George Floyd? First we must look back.
Doctor Cato Laurencin from the University of Connecticut is calling the problems that people of color face- racism is a public health crisis. “One of the interesting ways and one of the ways I am concerned about is when an unarmed Black person is killed by police and is seen and unarmed that has a tremendous effect medically on the greater Black community and interestingly we don’t see those effect when an armed Black person is killed, but when an unarmed Black person is killed there, as far as the Black community is concerned is an increase in mental health referrals, increased levels of depression to take place, so when I mention the effects of George Floyd’s death in terms of the Black community the effects are far reaching than many people know,” said Dr. Laurencin.
What The Coronavirus Pandemic And The George Floyd Protests Tell Us About Racism And Health
There’s long been good evidence for the premise that racism is bad for your health. And that truth stands whether you’re the victim or the perpetrator. In light of both the racial disparities of the coronavirus pandemic and the momentous events in the wake of George Floyd’s death, Connecticut Public Radio’s All Things Considered host, John Henry Smith, spoke with Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, a professor of orthopedic surgery at UConn.
How to address the coronavirus’s outsized toll on people of colour
Researchers and some US lawmakers are now calling for a national commission devoted to identifying racial disparities in health that would act as a unified voice in trying to overcome them. Researchers note that this will be important to stopping the disease’s overall spread. “It is a major health-disparities issue, but it's also a major health issue for all,” says Cato Laurencin, an orthopaedic surgeon and biomedical engineer at the University of Connecticut in Farmington, who led a roundtable discussion on diversity at the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.
COVID-19: The black and brown battle in Connecticut
The latest statistics paint a sobering picture for communities of color across Connecticut. According to a recent UConn Health study, based on Connecticut’s state population, black people are twice as likely to contract COVID-19 than white people. “Some of the things that we are alarmed about is the fact that 30% of blacks who are tested for the coronavirus are positive,” said Dr. Cato Laurencin, Designated University Professor at the University of Connecticut and author of the first COVID-19 study on African-Americans in Connecticut. “Eight percent of whites who are tested for coronavirus are positive. Which implies to me, especially in the context that more blacks are dying, is maybe they are getting treated later if they are being seen later.”
The Mental Health Effects of COVID-19 on Communities of Color
According to data from the State of Connecticut, the COVID-19 infection rate for the black population is double the infection rate for the white population. "The disparities are on a number of different levels," explained Dr. Cato Laurencin, CEO of the Connecticut Convergence Institute. Laurencin was one of the first people to study COVID-19 data in the state and published a paper in the beginning of April on identifying and addressing racial and ethnic disparities during the pandemic.
Dr. Cato Laurencin discusses study of racial disparities with COVID-19
Dr. Cato Laurencin speaks with Tim Lammers on a recent study he published regarding COVID-19 and its impact on minority groups.
Data shows virus hitting African Americans particularly hard
A new study by doctors at UConn Health Center finds African Americans have so far been more likely to catch and die from COVID-19. About 12 percent of Connecticut residents are black, but through Wednesday, African Americans account for 16 percent of deaths and 17 percent of positive tests in cases where race is known. UConn Health Center Dr. Cato Laurencin said more data is needed to fully track the issue.
UConn Researchers Find Blacks Are Disproportionately Impacted By COVID-19
CT News Junkie online
For the first time last week the state of Connecticut began reporting the race and ethnicity of COVID-19 positive patients and by Wednesday, a team at the University of Connecticut found Blacks have a higher rate of infection and death. The team led by Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, former dean of the UConn School of Medicine, analyzed and reviewed the Department of Public Health’s data on COVID-19 outcomes and found that Blacks have a higher rate of infection and death in comparison to the percentage of the population they represent in the state.
3D-Printed Graftless Bone Transplants Go to Clinical Trials
Orthopedic Design & Technology online
Dr. Cato Laurencin, distinguished orthopedic surgeon and director of the Center for Biomedical, Biological, Physical, and Engineering Sciences at the University of Connecticut, lends his expertise to the project as a scientific consultant. He says that cancer patients are one of the populations that will benefit from ADAM's bones. "The skeleton is the most common site for metastases in patients suffering from cancer of breast, prostate, lung, thyroid, and kidney. When we talk about bone grafts, a big part of that is about intervening in cancer cases and offering patients a treatment that is effective and minimally invasive," says Dr. Laurencin. "ADAM is using a material that is uniquely able to integrate with the recipient's own tissue. That makes recovery in these cases possible, potentially more completely than is possible with current options."
Conn. Racial Profiling Panel Considers Health Outcomes For People Stopped By Police
Experts in Connecticut say racial profiling can result in poor health outcomes and even post-traumatic stress disorder. Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, a professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Connecticut, spoke on the issue before members of the Racial Profiling Prohibition Project Advisory Board on Thursday. He cited several studies showing that adverse health effects are experienced by people subjected to racial profiling by police.
International symposium explores how nanoscience can help solve problems in energy, medicine
VCU News online
Cato Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D., a University Professor at the University of Connecticut, delivered a keynote address at the symposium Monday. Laurencin is internationally renowned for his work in biomaterials, stem cell science, nanotechnology, drug delivery systems, and a field he pioneered — regenerative engineering. Laurencin described how his work in regenerative engineering and nanotechnology is leading to important breakthroughs in treatments for bone defects, tendon injuries, ligament injuries and more. Down the road, he told the audience, he believes the research will allow for limb regeneration.
Leaders Address Shortage of Black Men in Medical Profession
Diverse Issues in Higher Education online
The two-day National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine workshop titled, “The Growing Absence of Black Men in Medicine and Science: An American Crisis,” convened on Monday and Tuesday to address low Black male enrollment in American medical schools. "Hopefully we can come up with things that are brave and bold,” said Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, a distinguished professor at the University of Connecticut and chair of the planning committee for the workshop.
Stem Cell Research Advancing Rapidly
Some researchers in the industry are somewhat measured in their optimism of the technology’s human applications. “I want to make sure that we provide a real cautionary note, especially to those individuals and those institutions that tout stem cells as the panacea for any ill,” Dr. Cato Laurencin, director of the Institute for Regenerative Engineering at the University of Connecticut, told Healthline.
Asking After The Future At The World Frontiers Forum
Fast Company print
Here’s a sample of what the view into that future looked like. Cato Laurencin, professor, University of Connecticut, orthopedic surgeon, limb regeneration pioneer. “We can create these systems for regeneration that really depend upon the convergence of science, technology, advanced materials, ceramics . . . We’ve actually created almost all the different tissues of the musculoskeletal area. We can create bone, cartilage, tendon, ligament, nerve . . . What’s next? Where can you take this? There are 185,000 Americans undergoing amputation each year . . . There really is a pressing need.
Olympic swimmer Jason Lezak makes a splash for stem cell research
Scientists seeking $4.5 million to study a new kind of stem cell therapy for tendon and ligament injuries find out on Wednesday if their proposal will receive funding, and they’ve got an unlikely cheerleader standing on the sidelines: US Olympic gold medalist swimmer Jason Lezak. Lezak, who has won four gold medals in the Olympics, penned one of three published letters of support for the grant application, joining the likes of orthopedic surgeons Dr. Cato Laurencin of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and Dr. Brett Owens of Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School. (The identity of the grant applicant has not been made public.)
President Obama Honors Outstanding Teachers and Mentors at White House
National Science Foundation online
On Jan. 6, President Barack Obama honored educators, including UConn Health's Cato Laurencin, from across the country with awards for excellence in mathematics and science teaching and mentoring in his second "Educate to Innovate" campaign event for excellence in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. The event was held in the White House East Room.
Cato Laurencin Recognized by National Geographic
Cato T. Laurencin, director of the Institute for Regenerative Engineering at the Univ. of Connecticut Health Center, has been recognized by National Geographic in a special issue of its magazine devoted to “100 Scientific Discoveries that Changed the World.” Laurencin, who is also chief executive officer of the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, and the Van Dusen Endowed Chair in Orthopaedic Surgery, was cited for his research breakthroughs that may revolutionize the treatment of tears of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) — one of the most common knee injuries.
Bioengineered ACL Could Help Injured Knees
Washington Post online
A new bioengineered anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) replacement could provide a new treatment option for the more than 200,000 Americans who rupture their ACLs annually, U.S. researchers report this week. "We're hoping that we can have this as a solution for patients within the next three years," said study lead researcher Dr. Cato Laurencin.
Event Appearances (5)
Health Sciences Ray Symposium
Keynote Speaker - 2019 Western University
22nd Annual AAPS
Keynote Speaker - 2019 Northeast Regional Discussion Group (NERDG)
AIMBE 2019 Annual Event
Featured Speaker - 2019 Washington, DC
ICONSAT Nanotechnology Symposium
Keynote Speaker - 2018 India
M.I.T. Black Student’s Union
Keynote Speaker - 2018 50th Anniversary Celebration
Research Focus (1)
Connecticut Convergence Institute CEO Dr. Cato Laurencin defines regenerative engineering as the convergence of advanced materials sciences, stem cell science, physics, developmental biology, and clinical translation, for the regeneration of complex tissues and organ systems. Regeneration, specifically in regards to musculoskeletal tissue, is a groundbreaking field pioneered by Dr. Laurencin. With his leadership, the Institute aims to regenerate a limb on the person receiving treatment. Not a robotic limb but rather a real, organic, flesh-and-blood one.
Gradient porous scaffolds
The present invention provides gradient porous scaffolds for bone regeneration and osteochondral defect repair, methods for making such gradient porous scaffolds, and methods for using the gradient porous scaffolds.
Bi-phasic 3-dimenisonal nanofiber scaffolds, two parallel beam collector device and methods of use
A biphasic scaffold and devices and methods for making the scaffold are disclosed. An example scaffold may include (a) a first plurality of randomly-oriented nanofibers defining a first tab region, (b) a second plurality of randomly-oriented nanofibers defining a second tab region, and (c) a plurality of aligned nanofibers coupled to and extending between the first tab region and the second tab region, where the plurality of aligned nanofibers are suspended between the first tab region and the second tab region.
Mechanically competent scaffold for rotator cuff and tendon augmentation
A device has been developed to augment the rotator cuff tendon tissue as it proceeds in healing. The device has two purposes: to provide initial stability to the rotator cuff repair site to allow early mobilization of the upper extremity of the patient, and to allow for reinforcement of rotator cuff tendon repairs to increase the likelihood of successful rotator cuff tendon repairs. The device consists of an inter-connected, open pore structure that enables even and random distribution and in-growth of tendon cells. The braided structure allows for distribution of mechanical forces over a larger area of tissue at the fixation point(s).
The end of the handshake?Science Magazine
Cato T. Laurencin and Aneesah McClinton
In the time of a pandemic, societies adopt practices that necessitate the least human contact. To curtail the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), people have transitioned to social distancing and replaced gestures of greeting and parting for an alternative acknowledgment. In the early days of the pandemic, people were waving, bowing, foot tapping, and elbow bumping. It is difficult to predict how COVID-19 will reshape social etiquette. Perhaps alternative greetings will define a new normal for social interaction. The handshake transcends culture and geographic boundaries. Its origin is found in ancient Greek history as a gesture representing an offering of peace. In modern times it symbolizes greeting, establishes respect, offers congratulations, and solidifies farewell.
Injectable nanocomposite analgesic delivery system for musculoskeletal pain managementActa Biomater
Laurencin, CT., et al.
2018 Musculoskeletal pain is a major health issue which results from surgical procedures (i.e. total knee and/or hip replacements and rotator cuff repairs), as well as from non-surgical conditions (i.e. sympathetically-mediated pain syndrome and occipital neuralgia). Local anesthetics, opioids or corticosteroids are currently used for the pain management of musculoskeletal conditions.
Phosphate graphene as an intrinsically osteoinductive scaffold for stem cell-driven bone regenerationProc Natl Acad Sci USA
Arnold AM, Holt BD, Daneshmandi L, Laurencin CT, Sydlik SA
2019 Synthetic, resorbable scaffolds for bone regeneration have potential to transform the clinical standard of care. Here, we demonstrate that functional graphenic materials (FGMs) could serve as an osteoinductive scaffold: recruiting native cells to the site of injury and promoting differentiation into bone cells.
Biodegradable Piezoelectric Force SensorProc Natl Acad Sci USA
Laurencin, CT., et al.
2018 Measuring vital physiological pressures is important for monitoring health status, preventing the buildup of dangerous internal forces in impaired organs, and enabling novel approaches of using mechanical stimulation for tissue regeneration. Pressure sensors are often required to be implanted and directly integrated with native soft biological systems.
Engineered stem cell niche matrices for rotator cuff tendon regenerative engineeringPLoS One
Laurencin CT., et al.
2017 Rotator cuff (RC) tears represent a large proportion of musculoskeletal injuries attended to at the clinic and thereby make RC repair surgeries one of the most widely performed musculoskeletal procedures. Despite the high incidence rate of RC tears, operative treatments have provided minimal functional gains and suffer from high re-tear rates.
Growth factor delivery strategies for rotator cuff repair and regenerationInt J Pharm
Prabhath A, Vernekar VN, Sanchez E, Laurencin CT.
2018 The high incidence of degenerative tears and prevalence of retears (20-95%) after surgical repair makes rotator cuff injuries a significant health problem. This high retear rate is attributed to the failure of the repaired tissue to regenerate the native tendon-to-bone insertion (enthesis). Biological augmentation of surgical repair such as autografts, allografts, and xenografts are confounded by donor site morbidity, immunogenicity, and disease transmission, respectively.
Microsphere-Based Scaffolds in Regenerative EngineeringAnnu Rev Biomed Eng
Gupta V, Khan Y, Berkland CJ, Laurencin CT, Detamore MS
2017 Microspheres have long been used in drug delivery applications because of their controlled release capabilities. They have increasingly served as the fundamental building block for fabricating scaffolds for regenerative engineering because of their ability to provide a porous network, offer high-resolution control over spatial organization, and deliver growth factors/drugs and/or nanophase materials.