Professor Cato Laurencin

Orthopaedic Surgery, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering


Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D. is a University Professor at the University of Connecticut (the 8th to be designated in the institution’s 135 year history). He serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, the University of Connecticut’s cross-campus translational institute. Dr. Laurencin is the Founder and Director of both the Institute for Regenerative Engineering and the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Endowed Center for Biomedical, Biological, Physical and Engineering Sciences at the University of Connecticut. He is the Albert and Wilda Van Dusen Distinguished Endowed Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and Professor of Biomedical Engineering at UCONN.

Dr. Laurencin earned his B.S.E. degree in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University. He earned his M.D., Magna Cum Laude from the Harvard Medical School and his Ph.D. in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he was named a Hugh Hampton Young Fellow.

Dr. Laurencin is known internationally for his work in biomaterials, nanotechnology,  drug delivery systems, and a new field he has pioneered, regenerative engineering. He has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the  Department of Defense. Laurencin has produced seminal studies in a number of areas of biomaterials. He and his colleagues were the first to develop nanofiber technologies for tissue regeneration. The seminal paper on the work was highlighted on the cover of the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research’s Top 25 Biomaterials Papers of the Past 50 Years edition. His group was the first to develop polymer-ceramic systems for bone regeneration. The American Institute of Chemical Engineers specifically cited this achievement in naming him one of the 100 Engineers of the Modern Era at its Centennial Celebration in 2009. His contributions to Biomaterials have been acknowledged by the Society for Biomaterials. He received the Clemson Award from the Society for Contributions to the Biomaterials Literature and the Founder’s Award from the Society for Biomaterials.

As scientist and a practicing surgeon, Laurencin has been in a unique position to develop new biomaterials technologies. Work in the development of engineered systems for bone and ligament regeneration have inspired new technologies that are now available to patients, that are FDA cleared, and/or present in the clinical pipeline. For his work in new technology development, the Society for Biomaterials awarded Dr. Laurencin their Technology Innovation and Development Award. Overall, Dr. Laurencin’s work in nanotechnology, polymer-ceramic systems and engineered tissue regeneration has had a tremendous impact on the field. In that the regard, the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering awarded him the Pierre Galletti Award, medical and biological engineering’s highest honor, while the Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons awarded him the Nicolas Andry Award for work in tissue regeneration, its organization’s highest honor. His work on engineering tissues was honored by Scientific American Magazine as one of the 50 greatest achievements in science in 2007. In 2012, his work was highlighted by National Geographic Magazine in its “100 Discoveries That Have Changed Our World” edition.

Dr. Laurencin’s groundbreaking work has been recognized by various fields and organizations. Dr. Laurencin was honored at the White House where he received the Presidential Faculty Fellowship Award from President William Jefferson Clinton in recognition of his research work bridging medicine and engineering. In addition, Dr. Laurencin received the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, NIH’s highest and most prestigious research award, for his new field of Regenerative Engineering. He is the recipient of two Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation Grant Awards from the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Laurencin is dedicated to education and teaching. He has taught undergraduates and graduate students for over 25 years and has designed curricula funded through the National Science Foundation. At Drexel University he was named Professor of the Year for the School of Engineering as determined by the students of the school. He is the 2017 recipient of the Distinguished Engineering Educator Award by The Engineers Council. Dr. Laurencin is dedicated to mentoring students, especially underrepresented minority engineers and scientists. For his work, he received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring from President Barack Obama in ceremonies at the White House, the Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award for Mentoring, the Alvin H. Crawford Mentoring Award from the J. Robert Gladden Orthopaedic Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Mentor Award.

Dr. Laurencin has been active nationally in a number of leadership roles  involving science and technology. He has served as Chair of the College of Fellows for the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and as a member of the Council of the Society for Biomaterials as well as a board member for the Biomedical Engineering Society and the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society. Dr. Laurencin has served on the National Science Advisory Board for the FDA and the National Science Foundation’s Engineering Advisory Committee. He has been Chair of the Engineering Section for the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine and a member of the Peer Committee for Bioengineering for the National Academy of Engineering. At NIH, he has been a member of the Advisory Committee to the Director of the National Institutes of Health, a member of the NIH Scientific Management Review Board, a member of the NIH National Advisory Council for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, and a member of the NIH National Advisory Council for Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Dr. Laurencin has served on the Division Committee for Physical and Engineering Sciences (DEPCOM) for the National Academy of Engineering and the Division Committee for Health, Medicine and Disease (HMD) for the National Academy of Medicine.

Dr. Laurencin has worked in the area of addressing minority health disparities. An affiliate Professor of Africana Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences at UCONN, he has taught and lectured on the social consequences of health disparities. Dr. Laurencin was the co- Founder and Founding Chair of the W. Montague Cobb/NMA Health Institute, and is the Editor- in-Chief of the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, published by Springer-Nature.

Dr. Laurencin has two awards named in his honor: The Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D. Travel Fellowship Award given by the Society for Biomaterials to fund underrepresented minority undergraduates, and The Cato T. Laurencin Lifetime Research Achievement Award given the National Medical Association and the Cobb/National Medical Association Health Institute.

Dr. Laurencin is an elected member of both the National Academy of Engineering and  the National Academy of Medicine. Internationally, he is an elected Fellow (Associate) of the African Academy of Sciences, an elected Fellow (Foreign) of the India National Academy of Sciences, an elected Fellow (Foreign) of the Indian National Academy of Engineering and is a Fellow of The World Academy of Sciences. Dr. Laurencin is an Academician and Member (Foreign) of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

Dr. Laurencin is a recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. It is the highest honor bestowed in America for technological achievement.