About BE

News & Events






Writing Lab


Department of Biological Engineering
Shannon K. Hughes, Ph.D.

Shannon K. Hughes, Ph.D.

Instructor of Biological Engineering

E-mail: skalford@mit.edu
Office: 56-378
Phone: (617) 258-9488

Courses: 20.109 Laboratory Fundamentals in Biological Engineering


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.

Research Focus

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 biological engineering approaches to elucidate the intracellular signaling mechanism underlying increased breast cancer metastasis due to expression of an invasion-specific protein, MenaINV.

Selected Publications

Hughes (Alford), S. K., B. K. Wacker, M. M. Kaneda and D. L. Elbert. Fluid shear stress modulates cell migration induced by sphingosine 1-phosphate and vascular endothelial growth factor. Ann of Biomed Eng, 2005; 33:1010-1021.

Wacker, B. K., E. A. Scott, M. M. Kaneda, S. K. Alford and D. L. Elbert. Delivery of Sphingosine 1-Phosphate from Poly(ethylene glycol) Hydrogels. Biomacromolecules. 2006; 7:1335-43.

Wacker, B. K., S. K. Alford, E. A. Scott, M. Das Thakur, G. D. Longmore and D. L. Elbert. Endothelial Cell Migration on RGD Peptide-containing PEG Hydrogels in the Presence of Sphingosine 1-Phosphate. Biophys J, 2008; 94(1):p.273-85.

Alford, S.K, G.D. Longmore, W.F. Stenson and C. Kemper. CD46-induced immunomodulatory CD4+ T cells express the adhesion molecule and chemokine receptor pattern of intestinal T cells. J Immunol, 2008; 181(4): 2544-55

Alford, S.K., M. M. Kaneda, B. K. Wacker, and D. L. Elbert. Endothelial cell migration in human plasma is enhanced by a narrow range of added sphingosine 1-phosphate: implications for biomaterial design. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research: Part A, 2009; Jan;88(1):205-12.

Kreeger, P.K., Mandhana, R., Alford, S.K., Haigis, K.M., D.A. Lauffenburger. RAS mutations affect tumor necrosis factor-induced apoptosis in colon carcinoma cells via ERK-modulatory negative and positive feedback circuits along with non-ERK pathway effects. Cancer Research, 2009; Oct 15;69(20):8191-9

Alford, S.K., Y.M. Wang, Y. Feng, G.D. Longmore and D. L. Elbert. Prediction of sphingosine 1-phosphate stimulated endothelial cell migration rates using biochemical measurements. Ann Biomed Eng, 2010 Aug;38(8):2775-90

Roussos, E.T., Balsamo, M., Alford, S.K., Wycoff, J.B., Gligorijevic B., Wang Y., Pozzuto, M., Stobezki, R., Goswami, S., Segall, J.E., Lauffenburger, D.A., Bresnick, A.R., Gertler, F.B., and J.S. Condeelis. Mena invasive (MenaINV) promotes multicellular streaming motility and transendothelial migration in a mouse model of breast cancer. J Cell Sci, 2011 Jul 1;124 (Pt 13): 2120-31

Kim, H.D., Wagner, J., Meyer, A., Alford, S.K., Wells, A., Gertler, F.B, and D.A. Lauffenburger. Signaling network state predicts Twist-mediated effects on breast cell migration across diverse growth factor contexts. Mol Cell Proteomics. 2011 Nov;10(11):M111.008433.

Hughes-Alford, S.K. and D.A. Lauffenburger. Quantitative analysis of gradient sensing: Towards building predictive models of chemotaxis in cancer. Invited Review. Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2012 April; 24(2):284-291.

Meyer, A.S., Hughes-Alford, S.K., Kay J.J., Castillo A., Wells, A., Gertler, F.B., and Lauffenburger, D.A. 2D Protrusion but not Motility Predicts Growth Factor-Induced Cancer Cell Migration in 3D Collagen. J Cell Biol. 2012 Jun 11;197(6):721-9.

Gupton, S.L, Riquelme, D.R., Hughes-Alford, S.K., Rudina, S., Lauffenburger, D.A., and F.B. Gertler. Mena influences localization and inside-out activation of α5β1 Integrin via direct binding to the α5 cytoplasmic tail. J Cell Biol. 2012 Aug 20; 198(4): 657-76.

Zervantonakis, I.K., Hughes-Alford S.K., Charest, J.L., Condeelis, J.S., Gertler, F.B., and Kamm R.D. Three-dimensional microfluidic tumor-vascular interface model: Tumor cell intravasation interplay with endothelial barrier function. PNAS. 2012 Aug 21; 109(34): 13515-20.


Copyright © 2013 MIT Department of Biological Engineering. All Rights Reserved. Site designed by Academic Web Pages.