Esther Gomez and Enrique Gomez

Developing Materials to Guide Cell Signaling

Cell adhesion to extracellular matrix components is essential for many cellular behaviors and functions including proliferation, differentiation, and migration. The primary way in which cells adhere to extracellular matrix is through complexes of proteins called focal adhesions. These protein complexes serve as signaling hubs for regulatory pathways within cells. Elucidation of how adhesion regulates cell signaling may suggest novel approaches to control cell differentiation by precisely tuning the adhesive cues presented to cells

Studies will be directed toward investigating how properties of adhesive ligands regulate cell adhesion and cell fate. Novel polymeric materials will be employed to control the presentation of adhesive ligands to cells. Undergraduate students working on this project will assist with synthesis of polymers and characterization of polymer thin films using atomic force microscopy (Enrique Gomez lab). They will also examine cell adhesion and cellular differentiation on thin film surfaces through immunocytochemistry and microscopy (Esther Gomez lab).

Faculty Research Links

Contact Information

Manish Kumar, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering
REU Program Coordinator

Esther Gomez, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering
REU Program Coordinator

apply now


The Penn State Department of Chemical Engineering, established in 1948, is recognized as one of the largest and most influential chemical engineering departments in the nation.

The department is built upon the fundamentals of academic integrity, innovation in research, and commitment to the advancement of industry.

Department of Chemical Engineering

119 Greenberg Complex

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-865-2574