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Distinguished BIOE 500 Seminar Speaker - Shelly Peyton

Event Type
Seminar/Symposium
Sponsor
Bioengineering Department
Location
Everitt Room 2310
Date
Sep 4, 2024   12:00 - 12:50 pm  
Views
25

Shelly Peyton

Department Chair of Biomedical Engineering and Professor  

Tufts University

Title: Tissue-inspired synthetic biomaterials and applications in cancer 

Abstract:  Improved experimental model systems are critically needed to better understand cancer progression and bridge the gap between lab bench proof-of-concept studies, validation in animal models, and eventual clinical application. Many methods exist to create biomaterials, including hydrogels, which we use to study cells in contexts more akin to what they experience in the human body. Our lab has multiple approaches to create such biomaterials, based on combinations of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) with peptides and zwitterions. In this presentation, I will discuss our synthetic approaches to building life-like materials, how we use these systems to grow cells and understand how a cell’s environment, particularly the extracellular matrix regulates cancer cell growth, dormancy, and drug sensitivity. 

Bio: Shelly Peyton is a Professor and Department Chair of Tufts University Biomedical Engineering. She received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University in 2002 and went on to obtain her MS and PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Irvine in 2007. She was then an NIH Kirschstein post-doctoral fellow in the Biological Engineering department at MIT before starting her academic appointment at UMass Amherst in 2011, where she was a Chemical Engineer for 13 years. Shelly leads an interdisciplinary group of engineers and molecular cell biologists seeking to create and apply novel biomaterials platforms toward new solutions to grand challenges in human health. Her lab’s unique approach is using our engineering expertise to build simplified models of human tissue with synthetic biomaterials. They use these systems to understand 1) the physical relationship between metastatic breast cancer cells and the tissues to which they spread, 2) the role of the extracellular matrix and its dynamics in drug resistance, and 3) how to create bioinspired, mechanically dynamic and activatable biomaterials. Among other honors for her work, Shelly was a 2013 Pew Biomedical Scholar, received a New Innovator Award from the NIH, and she was awarded a CAREER grant from the NSF. Shelly is a fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society and a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. Shelly is passionate about graduate student training and diversifying the academy. She was awarded an Outstanding Teaching Award from the College of Engineering at UMass in 2018, leads an REU Site at UMass, and she is lead PI of the PREP program at UMass, which brings students from historically excluded groups to UMass for a 1-year research-intensive program to help prepare them for graduate school. She also runs an NSF-funded program called Engineering the Cell, which brings female high school students to her lab for 5 weeks every summer. Outside of her work, Shelly is an avid cyclist, enjoys board games, travel, and is a retired ultimate frisbee player. 


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