Two Named to National Academy of Engineering

Two members of the UConn engineering community have been elected to the 2011 class of the prestigious National Academy of Engineering:  Drs. Cato T. Laurencin and James E. Barger (M.S. UConn, Mechanical Engineering ’60).

The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) comprises 2,290 U.S. members and 202 foreign associates.  Election to the NAE is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer.

Dr. Cato T. Laurencin is the Van Dusen Endowed Chair in Academic Medicine; a Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and of Chemical, Materials & Biomolecular Engineering; Dean of the UConn School of Medicine; and Vice President of Health Affairs at the UConn Health Center.  Dr. Laurencin’s selection was based upon his research contributions in the areas of “biomaterial science, drug delivery, and tissue engineering involving musculoskeletal systems and for academic leadership.”

Dr. Laurencin is an expert in shoulder and knee surgery and an international leader in tissue engineering research. He is a Fellow of three medical societies and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.  In 2009, President Obama presented him a Presidential Award for Excellence, awarded to science, math and engineering mentors. He was honored by Scientific American Magazine as one of the top 50 innovators for his groundbreaking technological work in the regeneration of knee tissue, and he was also named among “100 Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era” by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.  Dr. Laurencin is the 2009 winner of the Pierre Galletti Award, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering’s highest honor.  Dr. Laurencin earned his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from Princeton University, his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, and his Ph.D. in biochemical engineering/biotechnology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr. James Barger is Chief Scientist with Raytheon BBN Technologies of Cambridge, MA.  He was selected for his “applications of acoustic technology and engineering solutions for the benefit of national security and society.”

His areas of expertise include sonar, underwater noise detection and reduction, broadband medical ultrasound, sensors for geophysical seismic exploration, and noise and vibration cancellation. During his career with BBN, Dr. Barger has contributed to making BBN renowned for pioneering some of the world’s most sophisticated acoustical and telecommunications technologies.  In 1978, he provided expert testimony to Congress regarding the likely number of shots fired at President John F. Kennedy based on acoustical analyses of audio recordings.  Dr. Barger was instrumental in the design of explosive line arrays used by the Navy’s Distant Thunder Sonar System; designed and tested the patented, BBN-made system used by all tension leg platforms (e.g., offshore oil rigs); and analyzed and designed sound sources for geophysical seismic exploration.  He was inducted into the UConn Academy of Distinguished Engineers in 2003 and received the School of Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award in 2002.  Dr. Barger earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan, his M.S. in mechanical engineering at UConn, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in applied physics at Harvard University.

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