Cato Laurencin awarded the ACS Priestley Medal

WASHINGTON, July 8, 2022 — The American Chemical Society (ACS) awards the Priestley Medal annually to an individual for distinguished services to chemistry. The 2023 medal will go to Cato Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D., who is being 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)."

Laurencin serves as a university professor at the University of Connecticut. He earned his Ph.D. in biochemical engineering/biotechnology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his M.D. (magna cum laude) from Harvard Medical School and his B.S.E. in chemical engineering from Princeton University.

A leading international figure in polymer science and engineering and in biomaterials, Laurencin  is able to move from fundamental science to applied research to research translation to clinical work, thanks to his training in polymer chemistry, chemical engineering and surgery. He pioneered the development of a bioengineered, degradable polymer fiber matrix for repairing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the first to be successfully used in humans. His work also has focused on pioneering polymeric materials for shoulder regeneration based on his nanofiber technology.

“Dr. Laurencin has been a transformative figure in service to chemistry,” says Kazem Kazerounian, Ph.D., dean of engineering at the University of Connecticut. “He is a towering figure in science and technology who has developed technologies that are revolutionary based upon fundamental chemistry principles and who has been a trailblazer in equity and anti-racism.”

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

Laurencin will accept the medal and deliver an address at ACS Spring 2023 in Indianapolis.

Nominations for the 2024 Priestley Medal are open through Nov 1, 2022. To nominate a colleague, visit the ACS National Awards page

The American Chemical Society (ACS) is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS’ mission is to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and all its people. The Society is a global leader in promoting excellence in science education and providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple research solutions, peer-reviewed journals, scientific conferences, eBooks and weekly news periodical Chemical & Engineering News. ACS journals are among the most cited, most trusted and most read within the scientific literature; however, ACS itself does not conduct chemical research. As a leader in scientific information solutions, its CAS division partners with global innovators to accelerate breakthroughs by curating, connecting and analyzing the world’s scientific knowledge. ACS’ main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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Cato T. Laurencin
Cato T. Laurencin
Credit: Octavio Jones for C&EN