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

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