East Hartford, CT — Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz will present the 2020 Connecticut Medal of Technology to Mike Ambrose, Vice President of Engineering and Technology at Sikorsky, and the 2021 Connecticut Medal of Science to Nancy H. Ruddle, John Rodman Paul Professor Emerita, Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases and Immunobiology, Yale School of Public Health and Yale School of Medicine. Mr. Ambrose and Professor Ruddle will be present virtually to accept the medals at the 46th Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (CASE) Annual Meeting, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm, Thursday, May 27, 2021. To register for the meeting: https://registration.caseannualmeeting.org/.
Sikorsky was selected as the state’s 2020 technology medalist for its X2 Technology™, a generational leap in rotary wing innovation that enables helicopters to complete tasks traditional helicopters can’t today. X2 Technology consists of an integrated package of technologies that make X2 aircraft faster, more agile and more maneuverable than other helicopters.
Sikorsky has been a leader in aviation and innovation ever since Igor Sikorsky founded Sikorsky Aero Engineering Corporation in 1923. Sikorsky helicopters have transported every U.S. president since 1957 and have also fulfilled aviation needs across all branches of the military. In 2004, engineers started work on X2 Technology™ to overcome speed and stability limitations of prior helicopters. These limits drove Sikorsky engineers to completely rethink the typical design of a helicopter.
The company’s work then shifted to address the U.S. Army’s Future Vertical Lift needs. Sikorsky’s newest designs, RAIDER X® and the Sikorsky-Boeing DEFIANT X™ are based on X2 Technology and will contend for the Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program and the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program, respectively.
Sikorsky’s engineering and manufacturing expertise is a significant economic force in the state, with currently 8,400 CT-based employees. In addition to X2 Technology’s importance to our military services, Sikorsky’s fielding of the technology will directly benefit the state’s economy.
“Connecticut is proud to award the 2020 Connecticut Medal of Technology to Sikorsky,” said Governor Ned Lamont. “Connecticut is home to the nation’s most innovative and talented aerospace and defense manufacturers and suppliers— and companies like Sikorsky keep us competitive by continuously providing exciting new opportunities for top engineering and science graduates from our state’s colleges and universities. Sikorsky is to be congratulated for their ongoing innovations and commitment to the state of Connecticut and our workforce.”
Professor Nancy H. Ruddle was selected as the state’s 2021 science medalist as a pioneering immunologist who discovered lymphotoxin, an immune signaling molecule or cytokine and demonstrated its roles and mechanisms in cytotoxicity, autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Type 1 diabetes, and in lymph node development. Her work was fundamental to the understanding of tertiary lymphoid organs, accumulations of lymphoid cells that are damaging in autoimmunity, but can be key to defense against microorganisms and tumors.
Her discoveries have profound implications for the understanding and treating of autoimmune diseases, organ transplantation, and cancer. Before the tools of molecular biology were available, she developed T cell clones and realized that the cytotoxic factor she discovered was a combination of the cytokines lymphotoxin and tumor necrosis factor (TNF). Lymphotoxin was one of the first cytokines to be discovered; now there are hundreds. Her findings that cytokines can induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) and contribute to autoimmune diseases changed thinking in the field.
“Connecticut has a rich history of being home to some of the nation’s leading scientists who are making revolutionary discoveries that have global impacts,” Governor Ned Lamont said. “Our state’s scientific community reflects our legacy of research and innovation. Professor Ruddle’s paradigm-shifting contributions to our understanding of the immune system, and infectious and autoimmune diseases is a shining example. On behalf of the entire state, I want to thank Professor Ruddle for her more than 50-year career — all of which has been spent in Connecticut — and congratulate her on receiving Connecticut’s highest honor for scientific achievement.”
The Connecticut Medal of Technology is the state’s honor awarded to individuals, teams, and companies/non-profits or divisions of companies/non-profits for their outstanding contributions to the economic, environmental and social well-being of Connecticut and the nation through the promotion of technology, technological innovation, or the development of the technological workforce. The award is modeled after the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.
Modeled after the National Medal of Science, the Connecticut Medal of Science is the state’s highest honor for scientific achievement in fields crucial to Connecticut’s economic competitiveness and social well-being.