we are optimizing protocols to culture patient-derived organoids from breast cancer patients in our synthetic hydrogels.
Physics of TBI
Carey is working with several labs, funded by the ONR, to study the physics of cavitation events in the brain, and how that leads to traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Sualy designed and synthesized synthetic hydrogels that mimic the brain ECM. She used these gels to control astrocyte quiescience and activation
ECM and Breast Cancer Dormancy
We have an active project funded by the NIH to study how the extracellular matrix of the bone marrow regulates breast cancer cell dormancy (late relapse of metastatic cancer).
Drug Screening Tumor Spheroids
We have active projects funded by an NSF CAREER grant in breast and ovarian cancer to apply our synthetic biomaterial environments to study how the extracellular matrix of the tumor microenvironments alters drug sensitivities.
Do zwitterions protect implants?
Lauren Jansen and Thuy Nguyen from the Peyton lab led a collaborative project with the Bryant (Colorado), Liu (UC-Irvine), and Emrick (UMass) groups to determine if adding zwitterions to PEG gels helped shield them from the immune system. The answer is *sometimes*. Read more in their report in Biomacromolecules!
Controlling the Michael Reaction
Lauren Jansen, Lenny Negron-Piniero, and Sualyneth Galarza collaborated to find ways to slow down the kinetics of the Michael-addition reaction in PEG-maleimide hydrogels. Their work was recently published in Acta Biomaterialia
New dynamic gels
Yen Tran recently led an effort, with collaborators John Klier and Todd Emrick at UMass, to create new gel networks that stiffen under strain. These gels rely on "cryptic" reactive groups, which are only strain-responsive when externally activated. This work was recently published in Soft Matter and can be found on ArXiv.
Biomaterials and Systems Biology
We collaborated with Aaron Meyer at UCLA to combine biomaterials-based drug screening and systems biology to find new, highly effective drug combinations to treat breast cancer. Alyssa Schwartz and colleagues led this effort and it was recently published in Integrative Biology. You can also find this work on biorxiv.
NSF-funded program for HS students
Every summer, we host high school students from in and around Western Massachusetts to do research in our lab. There is no cost to students to participate. If you are interested, please check out Engineering the Cell on our website!
Tumor Spheroids for Drug Screening
We collaborated with Kelly Stevens at the University of Washington to compare various existing methods to create tumor spheroids for drug screening applications. Dr. Maria Gencoglu led this project and used comparative genomics to determine the cell-cell and cell-matrix genes that correlate with robust spheroid formation. She published this work in the ACS journal Biomaterials Science and Engineering.
Mechanics of Bone Marrow
We collaborated with the Crosby lab in PSE to quantify the stiffness of bone marrow. Lauren Jansen led this project and used three distinct, but complimentary techniques: rheology, indentation, and cavitation, to obtain both bulk and microscale measurements with the least destructive possible methods. She published this work in the Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials.
Smooth muscle cell stiffness sensing
Will Herrick published his research on how smooth muscle cells sense and respond to stiffness in the CMBE journal. He found that soluble factors from culture medium and integrin-binding motifs dictated the extent to which these cells responded to stiffness changes. This article is part of their "Young Innovator" series, highlighted at the BMES fall meeting 2015. This work was supported by an AHA Grant-In-Aid.
Lauren Barney has created biomaterial mimics of bone, brain, and lung tissue. She is using these materials, with support from an NSF-NCI PESO grant (DMR-1234852), to predict what interactions between cancer cells and materials cause secondary tissue site specificity.
New Drug Screening Platform
Thuy has been supported by both the Siadat development award and the UMass MRSEC on Polymers to develop a high-throughput biomaterial platform in which to study drug efficacy in carcinoma. His work was just published in Biomaterials.
Hydrophilic Zwitterionic Gels
Will Herrick, in collaboration with the Emrick lab, has created a new class of PEG-based hydrogels that are extremely hydrophilic and tunable over four orders of magnitude in elastic modulus. Will's work was recently published in Biomacromolecules.
NIH Award Launches new area of study
Two new students in the Peyton lab, Elizabeth Brooks and Alyssa Schwartz, were recruited to the Peyton lab to begin work in a new area - studying how cells distinguish between tissue sites during metastasis, and how they respond to drugs once they get there. These studies may lead to the development of tissue-specific treatments of patients with metastatic breast cancer.
3D Synthetic Tissue Mimics
Lauren Jansen has built 3D materials made from synthetic polymer precursors that capture key elements of bone marrow. She is using this bone marrow mimic to better understand the impact of stem cells, matrix remodeling, and chemo-mechanics on breast cancer metastasis. This work is funded by the Pew Foundation.
Institutes at UMass Support Us!
The Peyton Lab is supported by several institutes at UMass Amherst, including the UMass MRSEC on Polymers (Seed Grant 2012-2014), the ICE Institute for Cellular Engineering (Will Herrick IGERT fellowship from 2011-13), and the NIH funded Chemistry-Biology Interface (Lauren Barney 2014-2015. Thank you to these institutes!
Smooth Muscle Cell Stiffness Sensing
The Peyton lab was awarded a Grant-in-Aid award, starting July of 2013, to use our hydrophilic gels to study how atherosclerosis progression is accelerated by arterial stiffening, macrophage release of cytokines, and smooth muscle cell invasion. William Herrick is leading this effort.
Modeling 3D Cell Motility
In collaboration with Josh Cohen at Johns Hopkins, we are using computational models to understand and predict the movement of stem cells in 3D scaffolds. This work will eventually lead to the improvement of scaffold design for regenerative medicine.