UConn Health

American Institute of Chemical Engineers Honors Dr. Cato T. Laurencin

Dr. Cato Laurencin
Dr. Cato Laurencin

The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) has chosen Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, University Professor and Albert and Wilda Van Dusen Distinguished Endowed Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, to receive the 2021 Hoover Medal.

The prize celebrates the civic and humanitarian achievements of an engineer whose professional and personal endeavors have advanced the well-being of humankind, and recognizes Laurencin as an extraordinary engineer who outside his role as an engineer and physician has dedicated his life to the promotion of racial and ethnic social justice and equity. He has been a mentor to generations of individuals who continue to pass on his lessons.

Laurencin, a fellow and director of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, will receive the Hoover Medal honor and deliver a related lecture during the 2021 AIChE Annual Meeting, to be held Nov. 7–11 in Boston, and online Nov. 15–19.

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Artificial Skin Could Give Superhuman Perception

Islam Mosa James Rusling Abdelsalam Ahmed
Left to right: Islam Mosa, James Rusling, Abdelsalam Ahmed

A new type of sensor could lead to artificial skin that someday helps burn victims ‘feel’ and safeguards the rest of us, University of Connecticut researchers suggest in a forthcoming paper in Advanced Materials.

Our skin’s ability to perceive pressure, heat, cold and vibration is a critical safety function that most people take for granted. But burn victims, those with prosthetic limbs, and others who have lost skin sensitivity for one reason or another, can’t take it for granted, and often injure themselves unintentionally.

Chemists Islam Mosa from UConn, and James Rusling from UConn and UConn Health, along with University of Toronto engineer Abdelsalam Ahmed, wanted to create a sensor that can mimic the sensing properties of skin. Such a sensor would need to be able to detect pressure, temperature and vibration. But perhaps it could do other things too, the researchers thought.

“It would be very cool if it had abilities human skin does not; for example, the ability to detect magnetic fields, sound waves, and abnormal behaviors,” said Mosa.

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‘Combination’ Therapy for Improved Bone Repair

Yusuf Khan, associate professor of orthopedic surgery at UConn Health. (UConn Health Photo)

Yusuf Khan, an associate professor of orthopedic surgery at UConn Health has received more than $1.7 million from the National Institutes of Health to study a novel combination of bone repair therapies.

New cell treatments for bone repair are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to more invasive procedures, especially for patients who only have small-scale defects.

One of these techniques involve hydrogels – networks of crosslinked polymer chains with very high water content – that can be used to transport and maintain cells within a bone defect. The high-water content of the hydrogel could allow the cell-hydrogel assembly to be injected into the bony defect using minimally invasive techniques.  Read the full UConn Today story.