Photo of Cato T. Laurencin

Cato T. Laurencin

  • National Medal of Technology and Innovation
  • Medicine

For seminal work in the engineering of musculoskeletal tissues, especially for revolutionary achievements in the design of bone matrices and ligament regeneration; and for extraordinary work in promoting diversity and excellence in science.

Cato Laurencin on his many and varied interests in high school

When Dr. Cato T. Laurencin isn’t repairing ligaments and musculoskeletal tissues, he’s developing new ones. Dr. Laurencin, a self-described “surgeon-scientist” who holds multidisciplinary roles in engineering and medicine at the University of Connecticut, is a world-renowned orthopaedic surgeon and a pioneer in the field of regenerative engineering.

Regenerative engineering, according to Dr. Laurencin, is “the integration of tissue engineering with advanced materials science, stem cell science and developmental biology toward the regeneration of complex tissues, organs or organ systems.”

Among Dr. Laurencin’s contributions to this emerging field, he is best known for developing the first bioengineered anterior cruciate ligament—a ligament in the knee, commonly referred to as the ACL, that’s often a point of injury in athletes.

His research team has also made advances in new blood vessel and collagen growth and is currently working to engineer a complete limb.

In addition to his work in the operating room and the laboratory, Dr. Laurencin is lauded for mentoring underrepresented students and young doctors. He also volunteers as a doctor for amateur and professional boxers, linking him back to the time he spent as a ringside doctor for famed boxer Mike Tyson.

By Sydni Dunn