Cato Thomas Laurencin (1959- )

Cato Laurencin
Cato Laurencin, ca. 2010
Courtesy Mikeenr (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Cato Laurencin is a physician, surgeon, scientist, engineer, and one of two University Professors at the University of Connecticut. He is just the 8th University Professor in the institution’s almost 140-year history and as such holds the school’s highest academic title. Dr. Laurencin also serves as the Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and the Albert and Wilda Van Dusen Distinguished Endowed Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery. He is also the CEO of the Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering, and the Founder/ Director of the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Center for Biomedical Biological Physical and Engineering Sciences at the University of Connecticut.

Dr. Laurencin is world-renowned in regenerative engineering, a field he has pioneered, as well as in biomaterials, stem cell science, nanotechnology, and drug delivery systems. He and his colleagues were the first to develop nanofiber technologies for tissue regeneration and the development and understanding of polymer-cermaic systems for bone regeneration. He invented the Laurencin-Cooper ligament for ACL regeneration, and engineered grafts for shoulder rotator cuff tendon repair and regeneration. Dr. Laurencin has authored over five hundred scientific papers, and is Editor-In-Chief of the journal Regenerative Engineering and Translated Medicine.

The list of awards for Dr. Laurencin’s work is long and detailed. He is the first individual in history to receive both the highest and oldest awards from the National Academy of Medicine (the Walsh McDermott Medal), and the National Academy of Engineers (the Simon Ramo Founder’s Award). In science, Dr. Laurencin received the highest honor of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (The Philip Hague Abelson Prize), and in innovation, he was awarded highest honor in the United States for technological advancement, the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, by President Obama.

Dr. Laurencin has served as the Commissioner of Boxing for the State of Connecticut, and previously as a ringside boxing physician for professional boxing in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. He has also been a physician for the USA Boxing Elite Men’s Team and serves on the National Medical Advisory Board for USA Boxing. Dr. Laurencin has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Defense for several decades. The Society for Biomaterials established the Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., PhD Travel Fellowship Award, and the W. Montague Cobb/ NMA Institute and the National Medical Association established the Cato T. Laurencin Lifetime Research Achievement Award in his honor. He is a member of numerous international societies including the Indian National Academy of Sciences and an elected Fellow of the African Academy of Science, the World Academy of Sciences, and a Foreign Member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

Dr. Laurencin was born on January 15, 1959, in North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Central High School and earned his B.S.E. in chemical engineering from Princeton University in 1980. Laurencin then earned a M.D. (magna cum laude) from Harvard Medical School and a PhD in biochemical engineering and biotechnology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) simultaneously in 1987. While at Harvard, he was named the Hugh Hampton Young Fellow, and received the Robinson Award for Surgery. He and his wife have three children. He is a member of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity.