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Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D. is an American engineer, physician, scientist, innovator and a University Professor of the University of Connecticut (one of two at the University). He is currently the Chief Executive Officer of The Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering. Dr. Laurencin is regarded as the founder of the field of Regenerative Engineering. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Regenerative Engineering and Translational Medicine and Founder and President of the Regenerative Engineering Society.

 In engineering and medicine, he is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering and is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine. He is the first individual in history to receive both the oldest/highest awards from the National Academy of Engineering (the Simon Ramo Founder's Award) and the National Academy of Medicine (the Walsh McDermott Medal). In science, Dr. Laurencin received the Philip Hague Abelson Prize, the highest honor of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, for "signal contributions to the advancement of science in the United States" for his work in Regenerative Engineering. In innovation, Laurencin was awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, America's highest honor for technological advancement, awarded by President Barack Obama in ceremonies at the White House.

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Dr. Veronica Maria Pimentel, MD, MS, FACOG is a board-certified Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist, Director of Research for the Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Program and Course Director for the MFM Sub-Internship at Trinity Health Of New England / Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center.  She is also an assistant professor of OBGYN at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at the Quinnipiac University.   

Dr. Pimentel obtained her MFM fellowship training at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and completed her OB/GYN residency at Boston University Medical Center.  She is a graduate of the University of CT School of Medicine.  She has many publications and is the primary investigator for several research projects.  She has presented at international, national and local conferences.  She a newly appointed member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Scientific Program Committee and a member of the Trinity Scientific Review Committee.  Additionally, Dr. Pimentel is the treasurer for the CT Chapter of the National Medical Association and is a Board Member of the Cabo Verdean – American Medical Society. 

Dr. Pimentel is a strong advocate for maternal and child health.  At St. Francis Hospital, she established the Diversity, Inclusion, Community and Education Program for the OB/GYN residency with the goal of enhancing the care of our patients.  She serves in the Connecticut Maternal-Child Health Subcommittee. Throughout the years, she has collaborated with professional organizations, such us ACOG and the Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine (SMFM) as well as national, state and community stakeholders, including the March of Dimes.   Notably, as the creator of Anarcha, Lucy and Betsey Recognition Days, she has been working closely with ACOG to recognize the contributions of enslaved Black women to the field of OBGYN.






Program Moderator

Dr. Ellis is an Internist and Occupational Medicine physician, and an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine at UConn Health. In addition to his clinical responsibilities, he has been involved in the undergraduate medical program at UConn Health and has been involved in the diversity initiatives of the hospital. He is a co-chair of a mentorship program for African American medical students at UConn Health, and he is the chair of the diversity equity and inclusion committee of the department of Medicine. Dr. Ellis completed his medical school training at the University Hospital of the West Indies (Jamaica), and his residency in Internal Medicine at Howard University Hospital. He completed a second residency in Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health where he also completed a Masters degree in Public Health.

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Membership & Development

Dr. Iyanna Liles obtained her bachelor’s degree from Duke University in 2010 and obtained her medical degree from Emory University School of Medicine in 2014. She completed her Obstetrics & Gynecology residency at the University of Connecticut in 2018. Currently she works as a general OB/GYN physician at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center and is an Assistant Professor in Obstetrics & Gynecology at UConn.  Outside of work, Dr. Liles actively participates in the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology holding past positions such as the CT Junior Fellow Chair and District 1 Junior Fellow Chair. Dr. Liles participated in several legislative sessions giving testimony and/or meeting with legislators. She volunteers with the Connecticut Maternal Mortality Review Committee as a general OB/GYN physician providing feedback on ways to improve maternal care in the state.  Lastly, she is the mother to two girls, Kaleah 3 years old and Zoya who just turned 1.



Community Development

Kenneth Alleyne, MD, is a board-certified sports medicine orthopedic surgeon practicing in Connecticut and Manhattan. He is an attending surgeon across multiple hospital systems and has held faculty appointments domestically and internationally. He serves as the team physician and consultant to many local, national, and international athletic organizations. Dedicated to serving his community, Dr. Alleyne currently serves as Chair of the Connecticut Health Foundation. Additionally, he serves on the boards of the University of Connecticut Health Center, the Hartford City Ballet, Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation (New York)and Student Achievement Through Opportunity, an organization raising resources for academic and arts enrichment for low income students. Since 2019 he has served on the board of the Connecticut Public Television and Radio. Dr Alleyne is a graduate of Williams College and completed his medical training at Wake Forest University. Residency training was undertaken at Howard University Hospital and he subsequently completed a fellowship in sports medicine , knee and shoulder surgery at Yale University as well as tissue engineering research at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology in the laboratory of Dr.Cato Laurencin. He is the founder of HartHaven Partners a healthcare due diligence and investment firm.. He is deeply connected to his Caribbean roots and is a supporter of organizations at work in health and education in the region. Dr.Alleyne is an avid skier, jazz enthusiast, cyclist and gadget collector. He lives in West Hartford with his wife Shaun Biggers, MD and their two children.

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