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.

 FAIRFIELD — Sacred Heart University’s new academic building on the corner of Park Avenue and Jefferson Street in Fairfield will be named for Frank (SHU Class of 1969) and Marisa Martire. The building will house the John F. Welch College of Business and the Department of Communications & Media Studies.

“We are honoring the Martires in recognition of years of service and leadership as well as a multi-million dollar philanthropic commitment to the University,” said James T. Morley, Jr., chair of SHU’s board of trustees.

 

Bridgeport native Frank Martire earned a bachelor’s in economics from Sacred Heart before embarking on a distinguished career in finance and technology. The former CEO of Metavante Corp. is presently chairman and CEO of FIS.

 OLD SAYBROOK — Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH) has unveiled plans to bring advanced specialty medical care to Middlesex and New London counties. The hospital will begin renovations at 633 Old Middlesex Turnpike in Old Saybrook to develop a state-of-the-art outpatient facility, complete with the latest technology and amenities.

Slated for a spring 2015 opening, the Old Saybrook Medical Center will offer clinical services including pediatric specialty services, a comprehensive Smilow Cancer Care Center, musculoskeletal services, urology and vascular services.

According to YNHH President Richard D’Aquila: “Yale-New Haven Hospital is the premier medical center in Connecticut for complex care, and our new Old Saybrook Medical Center allows us to bring Yale-New Haven quality care and expertise directly to our patients living in eastern Connecticut. It will truly be a unique specialty medical center in Middlesex and New London Counties.”

 ANSONIA — BHcare’s Greater Valley Substance Abuse Action Council (VSAAC) will host a “Piece of the Prevention Puzzle” workshop. “A Piece of the Prevention Puzzle” is aimed at providing members of the lower Naugatuck Valley and greater New Haven communities with the resources and tools to help address some of today’s most critical issues affecting young people. Guest speakers Scott Driscoll, Alicia Farrell and Yifrah Kaminer, MD will focus on the legalization of marijuana and its effect on today’s youth along with internet safety.

 The workshop will also feature VSAAC’s Community Champion Awards, which recognize individuals who take action to effect change in the field of substance-abuse prevention and/or intervention activities. VSAAC’s mission is to keep young people safe from alcohol, tobacco, drug use, suicide, risky behaviors and promote good mental health.

The workshop will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. October 1 at Grassy Hill Lodge, 77 Sodom La., Derby. The cost is $25 and CEUs are available. To learn more or register, visit vsaac.org. Registration deadline is September 22.

 HARTFORD — The Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute (HHCCI) will be formally certified on September 16 as a charter member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Alliance, an initiative to improve quality of care and outcomes for cancer patients in community health-care settings. The Cancer Institute comprises five cancer centers — one at each of Hartford HealthCare’s acute-care hospitals statewide.

 

The certification of the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute as a member of the MSK Cancer Alliance comes after one year of intensive review and assessment of all the cancer programs and services within the Institute. The five cancer centers included are at the William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich, Hartford Hospital, MidState Medical Center in Meriden, the Hospital of Central Connecticut in New Britain and Windham Hospital.

 

The Cancer Institute’s membership in the MSK Cancer Alliance will bring numerous benefits to patients, both in the short- and long-term, including:

• Enhanced treatments and clinical care, including standards that align with MSK for surgical procedures, chemotherapy and radiation therapy

• Access to cutting edge research, including MSK’s clinical trials and protocols and breakthroughs in promising new fields such as molecular oncology

• Collaboration with some of the most pre-eminent cancer specialists in the world, working together to develop the best care plans for each patient.

 NEW HAVEN — Celentano Biotech, Health & Medical Magnet School this month celebrates its first anniversary as a magnet school with an unusual new theme that will help prepare students for future careers in the health science fields.

At Celentano, students explore medical careers and are exposed to a rigorous curriculum that is integrated with the school’s medical theme. The goal is to help students become critical thinkers in tune with their own well-being and ready to be active and productive members of a global society. According to administrators, the school shares a common vision that all children can learn and has worked collectively to build an environment that strives to reach the highest of standards.

As the academic year unfolds, students will be exposed to complex scientific subject matter and learn to ask provocative questions with regard to science, medicine and technology. They will also learn to think critically as they learn to access, analyze and debate the answers to these questions both individually and collectively.

 NEW HAVEN — The uninsured rate has increased in Connecticut in recent years, according to newly-released census data from the American Community Survey.  Connecticut Voices for Children, a research-based policy think tank, attributed the increase in the uninsured rate to the struggling economy and a possible decline in employment-based health insurance coverage.  The organization anticipates that the uninsured rate will improve in 2014 as more residents sign up for health coverage through Access Health Connecticut, the health insurance marketplace established under the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA).

 

There was a statistically significant increase in the percentage of people under age 65 who were without health insurance in the state, growing from 8.8 percent in 2009 to 9.4 percent in 2013.  There has been no statistically significant change in the number of uninsured Connecticut children in recent years.  Connecticut Voices for Children credited the state’s HUSKY health insurance program for helping to hold down the numbers of the uninsured by enrolling uninsured children and their families.

 

National and state-level data on health insurance coverage are available on the U.S. Census website at census.gov. Health insurance data are drawn from the American Community Survey (ACS). 

 HAMDEN — James Giordano, a neuroscientist and neuroethicist from Georgetown University Medical Center, will discuss “Brave New Brain: Neuroscience and Neuroethics for the 21st Century” when he delivers the 30th annual Stiernotte Lecture in Philosophy on September 16 at Quinnipiac University. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 5 p.m. in the Grand Courtroom in the Center for Communications & Engineering on QU’s Mount Carmel Campus at 275 Mount Carmel Avenue.

Giordano will discuss cutting-edge developments in neuroscience and neurotechnology, and explore what these developments mean for the long-held ideas, traditions and practices of humanity on an individual, social and global scale. Giordano also will talk about the value of neuroethics and how it might provide insights into moral thought, emotions and actions, and develop ways to address and direct brain research and its uses in medicine, public life and human relations on an international scale.

Giordano is editor-in-chief of the journal Philosophy, Ethics and Humanities in Medicine, associate editor of the international journal Neuroethics and executive-editor-in-chief of the book series, “Advances in Neurotechnology: Ethical, Legal and Social Issues.”

His ongoing research addresses the neuroscience of pain, aggression and moral decision-making, and the neuroethical issues that arise in and from the use of advanced neuroscientific techniques and technologies in research and applications in medicine, and national security, intelligence and defense.