The image above shows the 3D printing of a model of the human brain in the research laboratory of UMass Amherst chemical engineer Shelly Peyton. The Peyton lab is designing polymeric biomaterials to create small model tissues that trick cells into thinking they are in actual human tissue. They then study how the cells move, grow, and respond to drugs in different tissue environments. Peyton and her research team are using this approach to find new ways to cure cancer—where metastasis is the cause for 9 out of every 10 cancer deaths; cardiovascular disease—where plaque formation in arteries causes smooth muscle cells to migrate and further block blood flow, causing heart attacks and stroke; and stem cell engineering—where the researchers are working to create novel scaffolds to carry stem cells to treat wounded soldiers. Learn more.
Photo credit: John Solem