CICATS celebrates its inaugural graduating class from the Young Innovative Investigator Program

0885eThe Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (CICATS) at the University of Connecticut held a reception on May 16, 2016 to celebrate the six Scholars of the inaugural Young Innovative Investigator Program (YIIP) class. Nearly one week ago, the class formally graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Master of Science degrees in Biomedical Science. The YIIP reception served as a celebratory recognition of their accomplishments.

Dr. Cato T. Laurencin and Dr. Linda K. Barry, founders of YIIP, hosted the reception and welcomed a large crowd representing members of the Connecticut General Assembly, community-based organizations, foundations, City of Hartford elected officials, and UConn and UConn Health faculty.  The event started with a welcome and overview of the YIIP program by Dr. Barry, Assistant Director and Chief Operating Officer of CICATS and Program Director of YIIP.  Dr. Laurencin, Director of CICATS, provided remarks on his initial vision for YIIP and how it is addressing the dire need for underrepresented minority students to enter the field of research and medicine.

 Dr. Mun Choi, Provost of the University of Connecticut; Dr. Bruce Liang, Dean of the UConn School of Medicine; and Dr. Andy Agwunobi, CEO of UConn Health, each addressed the guests in attendance on how important YIIP is to UConn, and congratulated Drs. Barry and Laurencin on the success of the program. Additionally, Thomas “TJ” Clarke, II, City of Hartford Council President and Special Initiatives Coordinator for the Office of Senator Chris Murphy, introduced a personal video message from Senator Chris Murphy to the YIIP Scholars, praising them for their achievements and crediting Drs. Barry and Laurencin for their leadership.

Each YIIP Scholar gave a brief presentation of their research in front of their scientific posters and indicated how the YIIP program has been beneficial. To wrap up the event, Dr. Barry presented awards to the CICATS M1 Mentors, YIIP Lab Mentors, and the YIIP Advisory and Selection Committee, recognizing their combined impact on the growth of each scholar as they progressed through the program. Dr. Laurencin was also presented with a special plaque, honoring his vision, leadership, and dedication to the creation and success of YIIP.

The CICATS Flickr page has more photos from the reception for the YIIP Scholars as well as from their graduation.  To learn more about the Young Innovative Investigator Program, please visit the YIIP webpage.

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