38th Annual MLK Celebration Leadership Award Recipient: Cato T. Laurencin
Cato T. Laurencin PhD
Vice President for Health Affairs, University of Connecticut
38th Annual MLK Leadership Award
Cato T. Laurencin PhD '87, a nationally prominent orthopedic surgeon, bioengineering expert, and administrator and professor, is the Vice President for Health Affairs at the University of Connecticut and the seventh dean of the UConn School of Medicine. Dr. Laurencin is an expert in shoulder and knee surgery and an international leader in tissue engineering research.
He was recognized with an alumnus MLK Leadership Award for his groundbreaking work in musculoskeletal regeneration and national leadership in bioengineering.
Raised in North Philadelphia, Dr. Laurencin earned his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from Princeton University and his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, where he was a Magna Cum Laude graduate and the recipient of the Robinson Award for Excellence in Surgery. During medical school, he also earned his PhD in biochemical engineering/biotechnology from MIT, where he was a Hugh Hampton Young Scholar.
After completing his doctoral programs, Dr. Laurencin continued clinical training at the Harvard University Orthopaedic Surgery Program, and ultimately became Chief Resident in Orthopaedic Surgery at the Beth Israel Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Simultaneously, he was an instructor in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, where he directed a biomaterials laboratory at MIT.
Among his national leadership responsibilities, Dr. Laurencin has served as Speaker of the House of the National Medical Association, and currently serves as Chair of the Board of the National Medical Association’s W. Montague Cobb Health Institute. He has been a member of the National Institutes of Health National Advisory Council for Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and the National Science Advisory Board for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. He currently sits on the National Science Foundation’s Engineering Directorate Advisory Committee.
He is the Van Dusen Endowed Chair Professor in Academic Medicine and is Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Chemical, Biomolecular and Materials Engineering at the University of Connecticut.
He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the American Surgical Association, and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and has been recognized by America's Top Doctors and America's Top Surgeons. He is widely published in scholarly journals and holds more than 20 U.S. patents.
President Obama named Dr. Laurencin a 2009 winner of the Presidential Award for Excellence, awarded to science, math and engineering mentors. Additionally, Dr. Laurencin was recently honored by Scientific American Magazine as one of the top 50 innovators for his groundbreaking technological work in the regeneration of knee tissue. He was also recently named among “100 Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era” by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and is the 2009 winner of the Pierre Galletti Award, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering’s highest honor.
In research, he has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the Department of Defense. He has won the prestigious Nicolas Andry Award from the Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons for his work in musculoskeletal regeneration.
Dr. Laurencin is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.