American Chemical Society Holds Symposium in Honor of University Professor Cato T. Laurencin

Earning the Kathryn C. Hach Award for Entrepreneurial Success, Laurencin is being spotlighted for his contributions to the chemical industry.

The Regenerative Engineering Society poses together for a group photo.

Distinguished scientists and engineers from around the country gather to celebrate Dr. Laurencin and his American Chemical Society Award for Entrepreneurial Success in New Orleans.

On March 19, the American Chemical Society held the Kathryn C. Hach Award for Entrepreneurial Success Symposium in honor of Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, who is the University Professor, Albert and Wilda Van Dusen Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, and chief executive officer of The Cato T. Laurencin Institute for Regenerative Engineering at the University of Connecticut.

The Hach Award recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs who have created something where nothing existed before, being a new product, service, company, or industry based on the transforming power of chemistry to improve people’s lives and having a positive impact on the economy. Laurencin, being the founder of regenerative engineering, has had a significant impact in the chemical industry with his contributions in biomaterials and polymeric materials science.

Laurencin was named one of 100 Engineers of the Modern Era by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) for pioneering polymer-ceramic systems for musculoskeletal usage. Using them for bone regeneration, he has also inspired other technologies for bone repair and regeneration and for bioceramic implants (such as interference screws for musculoskeletal repair).

“Entrepreneurship and Economic Value Creation is one of our six pillars at the Cato T. Laurencin Institute for Regenerative Engineering. I am proud to be leading an Institute that prioritizes mentorship and is creating breakthrough technologies,” stated Laurencin. The Institute, named in Laurencin’s honor, fosters and nurtures established, emerging, and future scientists through different channels such as the Young Innovative Investigator Program (YIIP), the T32 Doctoral Training Program, and the Research Experience and Mentoring Program.

Previously mentored by Laurencin, Helen H. Lu, Ph.D., the Percy K. and Vida L.W. Hudson Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University says, “Dr. Laurencin is a great scientist and an amazing mentor. He’s an internationally known inventor, and it is tremendous to see his vision recognized and the accolades he is garnering for his achievements.”

In recognition of his innovation and achievement in chemistry, Laurencin has earned the William Grimes Award, James Bailey Award, and the Founders Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Percy Julian Medal, considered the highest award from the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers, and the Priestly Medal, the highest honor from the American Chemical Society. He has also been recognized for his contributions to technology as an inventor and innovator, earning the National Medal of Technology and Innovation from the White House and being named 2023’s Inventor of the Year by the Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation.

Laurencin is a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, materials science and engineering, and biomedical engineering at UConn. He earned his B.S.E in chemical engineering from Princeton University and his medical degree, Magna Cum Laude, from Harvard Medical School simultaneously with his Ph.D. in biochemical engineering/biotechnology from M.I.T. Laurencin is also the first engineer-scientist-surgeon to be elected to all four National Academies: the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Medicine, and the National Academy of Inventors. The NAACP, upon giving Laurencin the Spingarn Medal, recognized him as the foremost engineer-physician-scientist in the world with his transformative advances in improving human life.