An eminent biomedical engineer and orthopedic surgeon, Laurencin is being honored for his unique contributions to the advancement of science. | Courtesy of Cato T. Laurencin

Topics: African Americans, Bioengineering, Diversity in Science, Research

Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, founding director of the Institute for Regenerative Engineering and the Sackler Center for Biomedical, Biological, Physical and Engineering Sciences at the University of Connecticut, is the winner of the 2019 Philip Hauge Abelson Prize, presented by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

An eminent biomedical engineer and orthopedic surgeon, Laurencin is being honored for his unique contributions to the advancement of science. The Abelson Prize recognizes his global leadership in biomedical technology innovation, public service in shaping United States technology policy and invaluable mentorship to a generation of minority scientists.

“Prof. Cato T. Laurencin is the foremost scientist-biomedical engineer in our country today and a national and international leader in science and technology innovation,” Kazem Kazerounian, dean of the University of Connecticut School of Engineering, wrote in the award nomination. “Dr. Laurencin is a towering figure in science and technology.”

Laurencin’s seminal papers and patents have had wide-ranging impacts on human health, launching the use of nanotechnology in musculoskeletal regeneration and ushering in a new era in orthopedic therapies. His research inspired the development of biocomposite interference screws, which fix bone to soft tissue and are used in at least 25% of the more than 500,000 anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction surgeries performed worldwide each year.

Likewise, the soft tissue implants that Laurencin has developed — the STR graft for rotator cuff regeneration and the Laurencin-Cooper (LC) Ligament for ACL regeneration — have been declared breakthrough technologies. The rotator cuff graft lessens pain and speeds up recovery time following shoulder surgery, and the ACL device, expected to play a similar role in knee surgeries, has been implanted in patients as part of a large clinical trial in Europe. National Geographic named the LC Ligament one of its “100 Scientific Discoveries that Changed the World” in 2012.

Dr. Cato T. Laurencin of the University of Connecticut Receives 2019 AAAS Philip Hauge Abelson Prize

Adam D. Cohen, American Association for the Advancement of Science Newsroom

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