Welcome to the Peyton Lab
Our lab focuses on diseases of the human body that are critically impacted by improper cell migration. We use polymeric biomaterials to create mimics of the natural migratory microenvironment and study how cues from the ECM can direct cell migration in vitro. The vast majority of tissues in the human body are comprised of cells surrounded by a complex network of proteins and polysaccharides called the ECM. It is becoming increasingly clear that the ECM possesses several properties, such as mechanical integrity, adhesion specificity, and growth factor availability, which are all individually and collectively critical in dictating the local cell and tissue behavior.
The mission of the Peyton lab is to learn how a variety of different cell types are able to process information from biochemical and biophysical cues from the ECM and make decisions about migration and phenotype. To do this, our lab uses both 2D and 3D biomaterial model systems, which can be engineered from the ground-up to instruct cells via both biochemical and biophysical signaling pathways. This broader mission will be focused onto different research avenues with applications toward: cardiovascular disease, where tissue homeostasis is normally maintained in a mechanically dynamic ECM; stem-cell therapeutics, where rational scaffold design may be the key to directing appropriate progenitor cell migration and differentiation for tissue regeneration; and cancer, where disruptions in the local ECM microenvironment may cause drastic changes in individual cell motility and phenotype.
Members of the Peyton lab participate in three outstanding collaborative institutes at UMass-Amherst. Follow the links for more information!