September 27, 2005 -- Shelly Peyton, a fourth-year chemical engineering and materials science graduate student, was one of five national recipients to accept a 2005 Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Graduate Student Award, honoring her research project on cardiovascular pathologies, and receiving a complimentary registration to the national BMES meeting this September.
Peyton and her advisor, Andrew Putnam, Ph.D., assistant professor for both biomedical engineering and chemical engineering and materials science, are collaborating on a project that focuses on cardiovascular pathologies and tissue engineering, which will help increase the success of tissue engineering through examining the role of mechanical forces delivered to cells through the extracellular matrix (ECM).
She said that with a variety of cardiovascular pathologies such as hypertrophy, hypertension and atherosclerosis, the mechanical properties of blood vessels and small arteries can become significantly altered.
She explained that the hardening of the arterial wall due to cholesterol deposition, changes in fluid shear, or changes in blood pressure can affect cell behavior in three specific ways: inducing the migration of smooth muscle cells from the medial to the intimal layers of the artery, triggering the hyperproliferation of cells in the intimal layer, and increasing the deposition of matrix in the intimal layer.
“For all of the reasons explained, our research team is analyzing the effects of substrate mechanics on smooth muscle cell motility and differentiation,” she said.
Peyton will attend the four-day annual conference held in Baltimore, MD from Sept. 28 to Oct. 1, and will receive travel expense money and conference registration as part of her award. She shares this honor with graduate students from MIT, Duke, University of Pennsylvania, and Purdue.
“I attended the conference last year and had a wonderful experience. I am honored to have the opportunity to participate in the conference again this September, and am looking forward to presenting my research poster,” she said.