User:Shannon K. Alford

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Contact Info

Shannon Hughes
Shannon Hughes

Biological Engineering 20.109 Instructor & Research Scientist

  • Office: Bldg 56-389
  • Lab: Blgd 56-378
  • Office Phone: 617-258-9488
  • Email: skalford AT mit DOT edu
Butterstick, the office motivator
Butterstick, the office motivator

My Teaching Goals

Hands-on experience at the bench is useful for all engineers, experimentalists and theoreticians alike. In biological engineering, understanding how to experimentally perturb cell-based systems in a systematic and controlled manner is paramount to applying an engineering perspective across disciplines. My aim as an instructor of 20.109 is to provide practical, interesting, and motivating experiences that promote rewarding Aha! moments and drive novel insight and innovation. I believe that mentoring at the personal level, as well as the instructional level, is key to preparing the next generation of bioengineers for their careers tackling global technical health challenges. As such, I strive to provide opportunities for all students to improve and succeed in performing and communicating their science.

Fall 2012 will be my first time teaching 20.109 and I am excited to share my love for bench science with the talented students in the class! I welcome any, and all, feedback and encourage anyone who is interested in learning more about my research to stop by and chat.

My Research Interests

Aberrant cell migration is a hallmark of several invasive diseases, such as metastatic cancer and systemic autoimmune disorders. I am particularly interested in the regulation of cell motility and the underlying intracellular signaling processes as modulated by interaction with the cytoskeleton. My current research combines biochemical, cell biological and systems engineering approaches to elucidate the intracellular signaling mechanism underlying increased breast cancer metastasis due to expression of an invasion-specific protein, MenaINV.

For an overview of my current cell migration-related research goals and obsessions, please see a recent review that was co-authored with Prof. Doug Lauffenburger. The pubmed link is here.

A migrating MTLn3 breast adenocarcinoma cell. The protein Mena is shown in green, the actin cytoskeleton is in red.
A migrating MTLn3 breast adenocarcinoma cell. The protein Mena is shown in green, the actin cytoskeleton is in red.
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