University of Connecticut engineer and National Academy of Engineering member Cato T. Laurencin delivered a captivating Rockwell Lecture titled “Regenerative Engineering: Convergence to Address Musculoskeletal Grand Challenges” on Feb. 16 at the UH campus.
Laurencin, a leading surgeon-scientist in orthopaedic surgery, spoke about the transition from an era of advanced prosthetics to the emergence of a new field of regenerative engineering. He defined regenerative engineering as a convergence of advanced materials science, stem cell science, physics, developmental biology and clinical translation. Through these medical and engineering techniques, scientists are able produce tissues, bones, ligaments and cartilages by combining micro- and nano-matrices composed of bio-engineered molecules and proteins.
Laurencin expanded his research from regenerating tissues and bones to growing entire human limbs with organic flesh and blood. Through a major international research project called The Harford Engineering a Limb, or HEAL Project, Laurencin hopes to regenerate a human knee within the next few years, followed by an entire human limb by 2030.
Laurencin has been honored by the White House on three occasions. He received the Presidential Faculty Fellow Award from President Bill Clinton for his work bridging engineering and medicine, followed by the Presidential Award for Excellence in Engineering, Science and Math Mentoring from President Barack Obama. More recently, he received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Barack Obama.
Click here to view photos from Cato Laurencin’s Distinguished Rockwell Lecture