Priestley Medal 2023 for Cato Laurencin

Priestley Medal 2023 for Cato Laurencin

Author: ChemistryViews (Photo: Mikeenr, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)

Cato T. Laurencin, Professor at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, USA, has received the 2023 Priestley Medal, the highest honor of the American Chemical Society (ACS). The prize is awarded annually to recognize distinguished services to chemistry.

Cato Laurencin is honored “for pioneering, breakthrough work on polymeric materials and polymer composites for biologic use, and for leadership in inclusion, diversity, equity, anti-racism, and learning (IDEAL).” The award was presented at the national awards ceremony held in conjunction with the ACS Spring Meeting & Exposition 2023.



Laurencin works in the area of musculoskeletal tissue regeneration, relying heavily on principles of chemistry and materials science, and he is regarded as the founder of the field of regenerative engineering. He was the first to create a bioengineered polymer fiber matrix that can degrade and fix the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in humans. The ACL is one of the major ligaments in the knee joint. It is located in the center of the knee and is essential for normal knee function during physical activities such as running, jumping, and pivoting. Laurencin also used his nanofiber technology to develop new polymeric materials for regenerating shoulders.

His current research involves the integration of regenerative engineering, musculoskeletal regeneration, nanotechnology, polymeric materials science, bioreactor technology, drug delivery systems, and stem cell science and technology to develop innovative solutions for tissue repair and regeneration.

Throughout his career, Cato Laurencin has been a role model for many under-represented groups and a leading voice in IDEAL in chemistry and science.


Career and Awards

Cato Laurencin, born in Los Angeles, CA, USA, in 1959, earned his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from Princeton University, NJ, USA, in 1980, an M.D. from Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA, in 1987, and a Ph.D. in biochemical engineering/biotechnology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, USA, in 1987. Currently, he holds several positions, including as Chief Executive Officer of the Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering, Albert and Wilda Van Dusen Distinguished Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Connecticut, and Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Among many other awards and honors, Cato Laurencin received the Kappa Delta Ann Doner Vaughn Award 2021 from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the 2016 National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring in 2009, the Pierre Galletti Award (highest honor) from the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering in 2009. Cato Laurencin has an extensive list of professional activities, including being an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine, one of the 100 Engineers of the Modern Era named by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, an elected fellow and life member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Founder and President of The Regenerative Engineering Society, and a member of the board of directors of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers from 2018 to 2021.

Selected Publications

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