Cato Laurencin

University Professor, Van Dusen Distinguished Chair in Orthopaedic Surgery


Ph.D., MIT (1987)
M.D., Harvard Medical School (1987)

Current Research

  • Tissue engineering
  • Tissue Engineering
  • Musculoskeletal Regeneration
  • Nanotechnology
  • Polymeric Materials Science
  • Bioreactor Technology
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Stem Cell Technologies

Professional Activities

Elected Member: Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences
Elected Member: National Academy of Engineering
Fellow and Life Member: American Institute of Chemical Engineers
Fellow: Biomedical Engineering Society
Fellow: American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering
NIH Council Member: National Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering
Chair: Board of the National Medical Association’s W. Montague Cobb Health Institute.
Member: National Institutes of Health National Advisory Council for Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Member: National Science Advisory Board for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Member: Advisory Committee of the National Science Foundation’s Engineering Directorate

Current Research Group

Post Doctoral Fellow Ph.D. Students
Bret Ulery
Meng Deng
Kevin Lo
Duron Lee
Clarke Nelson
Ami Amini
Sean Peach
Shaun McLaughlin
Keshia Ashe
Daisey Ramos

Research Statement

Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D., is a Chemical Engineering Professor, and the Dean of the School of Medicine. Dr. Laurencin obtained his B.S.E. in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University in 1980. In 1987, he simultaneously he earned a Ph.D. in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was a Hugh Hampton Young Scholar, and his M.D. from Harvard Medical School, where he graduatedmagna cum laude and earned the Robinson Award for Excellence in Surgery. For his dissertation, Dr. Laurencin developed a polymer-based drug-delivery system; these better preserve a molecule’s bioactivity after it enters the body than do traditional pills. This led to a drug-delivery system for patients with brain cancer.

Dr. Laurencin continued clinical training at the Harvard University Orthopaedic Surgery Program, becoming Chief Resident in Orthopaedic Surgery at the Beth Israel Hospital, Harvard Medical School. During this time, he was an instructor in the Harvard–M.I.T. Division of Health Sciences and Technology, where he directed a biomaterials laboratory at M.I.T. After Harvard, Laurencin spent a year in sports medicine at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, then joined the Medical College of Pennsylvania’s Hahnemann University, which soon merged into Drexel University. There, he started the Center for Advanced Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering and helped usher in a new frontier in orthopaedic surgery — biodegradable polymer materials for fracture repair and tissue engineering.

Dr. Laurencin is a board certified in orthopaedic surgery. In 2003 he joined the University of Virginia where he continued to develop therapies to repair soft tissues such as the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee. Dr. Laurencin’s newest work uses polymer-based drug-delivery systems and nanotechnology to enhance bone and tissue regeneration.

Dr. Laurencin received recognition of his research work involving biodegradable polymers and was awarded the Presidential Faculty Fellowship Award from President William Clinton in. Dr. Laurencin is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and an International Fellow in Biomaterials Science and Engineering. He most recently received the William Grimes Award for Excellence in Chemical Engineering from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the Leadership in Technology Award from the New Millennium Foundation. Also, Dr. Laurencin has been elected as a member of the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences for his professional achievement and commitment to service.

Previous Positions

University Professor at the University of Virginia
Professor of Chemical Engineering
Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Lillian T. Pratt Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Virginia
Orthopaedic Surgeon-in-Chief, University of Virginia Health System

Awards & Honors

2011 Elected, African Academy of Sciences
2011 Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)
2011 Designated as one of the two University Professors at the University of Connecticut
2011 Elected to the National Academy of Engineering
2010 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, presented by President Barack Obama
2010 Elected Fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society
2009 Named one of the 100 engineers of the Modern Era by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers at its Centennial Celebration
2009 Pierre Galletti Award (highest honor) from the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering
2007 Who’s Who in Engineering Higher Education, Academic Keys
2007 “SciAm 50” award 50 highest scientific achievements of 2007 by the Scientific American Magazine
2007 Robert A. Bland Award, College of Engineering, University of Virginia
2006 Clemson Award for Contribution to Biomaterials Literature by the society for biomaterials
2006 Nicolas Andry Award by the American Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons for Significant Achievements in Orthopaedic Surgery
2006 America’s Top Surgeons
2005, 2004 Americas’ Top Doctors
2004 Elected to National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine
2004 Who’s Who in America
2002 William Grimes Award, American Institute of Chemical Engineers
2002 Distinguished Professor Designation Bestowed, Drexel University
1999 Elected International Fellow in Biomaterial Science and Engineering
1999 Profiled by IEEE in “Scientists of the Millennium” Series
1998 Distinguished Alumni Award, Princeton University
1997 Elected Fellow, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
1995 Presidential Faculty Fellow Award, The National Science Foundation
1992 Who’s Who in Engineering and Science
1987 Robinson Memorial Prize for Surgery
1984-1987 Hugh Hampton Young Memorial Prize, MIT


Biomimetic, Bioactive Etheric Polyphosphazene-poly(Lactide-co-glycolide) Blends for Bone Tissue Engineering. Deng M, Nair LS, Nukavarapu SP, Kumbar SG, Brown JL, Krogman NR, Weikel AL, Allcock HR, Laurencin CT. J Biomed Mater Res A. 92(1):114-25 (2010). PMID: 19165780

Biodegradable Polyphosphazene-nanohydroxyapatite Composite Nanofibers: Scaffolds for Bone Tissue Engineering. Bhattacharyya S, Kumbar SG, Khan YM, Nair LS, Singh A, Krogman NR, Brown PW, Allcock HR, Laurencin CT. J Biomed Nanotechnol. 5(1):69-75 (2009). PMID: 20055108

Fabrication, characterization, and in Vitro Evaluation of Poly(lactic Acid Glycolic Acid)/Nano-hydroxyapatite Composite Microsphere-based Scaffolds for Bone Tissue Engineering in Rotating Bioreactors. Lv Q, Nair L, Laurencin CT. J Biomed Mater Res A. 91(3):679-91 (2009) PMID: 19030184

Tissue Engineering of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament: the Viscoelastic Behavior and Cell Viability of a Novel Braid-twist Scaffold. Freeman JW, Woods MD, Cromer DA, Wright LD, Laurencin CT.J Biomater Sci Polym Ed. 20(12):1709-28 (2009). PMID: 19723437

Kumbar S.G., James R., Nukavarapu S.P., Laurencin C.T. Electrospun nanofiber scaffolds: engineering soft tissues. Biomed Mater. 2008 Sep;3(3):034002.

Jabbarzadeh E., Starnes T., Khan Y.M., Jiang T., Wirtel A.J., Deng M., Lv Q., Nair L.S., Doty S.B., Laurencin C.T. Induction of angiogenesis in tissue-engineered scaffolds designed for bone repair: a combined gene therapy-cell transplantation approach. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Aug 12;105(32):11099-104.

Solvent/non-solvent Sintering: a Novel Route to Create Porous Microsphere Scaffolds for Tissue Regeneration. Brown JL, Nair LS, Laurencin CT. J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater 86B(2):396-406 (2008). PMID: 18161819

Kumbar S.G., Nukavarapu S.P., James R., Nair L.S., Laurencin C.T. Electrospun poly(lactic acid-co-glycolic acid) scaffolds for skin tissue engineering. Biomaterials. 2008 Oct;29(30):4100-7.

Feng G., Wan Y., Balian G., Laurencin C.T., Li X. Adenovirus-mediated expression of growth and differentiation factor-5 promotes chondrogenesis of adipose stem cells. Growth Factors. 2008 Jun;26(3):132-42.

Laurencin C.T., Nair L. The FDA and safety–beyond the heparin crisis. Nat Biotechnol. 2008 Jun;26(6):621-3.

Nukavarapu S.P., Kumbar S.G., Brown J.L., Krogman N.R., Weikel A.L., Hindenlang M.D., Nair L.S., Allcock H.R., Laurencin C.T. Polyphosphazene/nano-hydroxyapatite composite microsphere scaffolds for bone tissue engineering. Biomacromolecules. 2008 Jul;9(7):1818-25.

Greish Y.E., Sturgeon J.L., Singh A., Krogman N.R., Touny A.H., Sethuraman S., Nair L.S., Laurencin C.T., Allcock H.R., Brown P.W. Formation and properties of composites comprised of calcium-deficient hydroxyapatites and ethyl alanate polyphosphazenes. J Mater Sci Mater Med. 2008 Sep;19(9):3153-60.

Jiang T., Kumbar S.G., Nair L.S., Laurencin C.T. Biologically active chitosan systems for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Curr Top Med Chem. 2008;8(4):354-64

Biomimetic Tissue-engineered Anterior Cruciate Ligament Replacement. Cooper J, Sahota JS, Gorum JW, II, Carter J, Doty SB, Laurencin CT. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 104: 3049-3054 (2007). PMID: 17360607.


Contact Information
Phone(860) 679-4068
Mailing AddressUniversity of Connecticut Health Center, 263 Farmington Avenue, Unit MC3800, Farmington, CT 06030
Office LocationE7036