About Scott Coyle's Work
My lab is taking a reverse-engineering approach to understand how cells move through, interact with and respond to their environment to perform complex and essential behaviors. We treat behavior as the output of a microscopic robot driven by patterns of signaling activity acting on a common molecular toolbox. We are developing new methods to extract these patterns and their targets from the dynamics of single cells challenged with heterogeneous micropatterned environments, stimulated through artificial signaling receptors, and reconfigured by CRISPR-mediated genetic perturbations. To sample the breadth of cell behaviors needed, we are investigating two distinct, but complimentary, systems in parallel: integrin-dependent migration and adhesion in metazoans; and animal-like predatory behaviors in novel unicellular protozoa. Ultimately, the systems-level models we develop will expand our understanding of the cell as a machine whose behavior can be predicted and engineered.