The National Institutes of Health has recognized a UConn Health surgeon scientist's creative research into regenerative engineering with a $4 million award, UConn announced earlier this month.

Practicing physician Cato T. Laurencin, MD has won the NIH Health Pioneer Award and accompanying grant for his research into replacing and regrowing damaged joints and limbs.

A bioengineered matrix he invested in to regenerate ligament tissue in the knee began clinical trials in Europe last year. He is working to develop methods to regenerate entire joints, and perhaps one day, entire limbs, UConn said.

The Pioneer Award, which will be received by ten scientists this year, recognizes "scientists of exceptional creativity who propose pioneering and possibly transforming approaches to addressing major biomedical or behavioral challenges that have the potential to produce an unusually high impact on a broad area of biomedical or behavioral research," according to NIH.

Laurencin is the first UConn researcher to win the award. He earned a BSE in chemical engineering from Princeton, an MD from Harvard Medical School and a Ph.D. in biochemical engineering/biotechnology from MIT.