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Aron Parekh

Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology
Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Assistant Professor of Cancer Biology



Biomedical Engineering (secondary)


Intellectual Neighborhoods

Research Focus

The Parekh Laboratory is focused on mechanobiology research in cancer and wound healing. Proper cell and extracellular matrix (ECM) interactions are responsible for maintaining functional homeostasis in tissues and organs. Alterations in this reciprocal relationship following disease or injury are guided by changes in the local ECM mechanical environment as well as signaling molecules and interactions with other cell types. These changes drive the ensuing disease state and tissue repair response by altering cellular phenotypes resulting in outcomes such as cancer cell invasion and pathological remodeling of healing wounds, respectively. In order to modulate these mechanobiological responses, a fundamental understanding of the biochemical and biophysical factors that influence these processes are required. These factors dictate cellular phenotypes and thus determine the manner in which cells further interact with their ECM microenvironment. Clinical modalities can be developed by identifying therapeutic targets that drive these pathological responses toward a more favorable outcome by interfering with these cell/ECM interactions. Therefore, our general research goal is to understand how mechanical forces drive pathologic cellular phenotypes in cancer and wound healing by utilizing biochemical and biomechanical approaches that include in vitro, ex vivo, in vivo, and in silico techniques and/or models.

Publications:

Jerrell RJ, Parekh A. Matrix rigidity differentially regulates invadopodia activity through ROCK1 and ROCK2. Biomaterials [print-electronic]. 2016 Apr; 84: 119-29. PMID: 26826790, PMCID: PMC4755854, PII: S0142-9612(16)00036-3, DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2016.01.028, ISSN: 1878-5905.

Parekh A, Weaver AM. Regulation of invadopodia by mechanical signaling. Exp. Cell Res [print-electronic]. 2015 Nov 11/4/2015; PMID: 26546985, PII: S0014-4827(15)30143-9, DOI: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2015.10.038, ISSN: 1090-2422.

Jerrell RJ, Parekh A. Polyacrylamide gels for invadopodia and traction force assays on cancer cells. J Vis Exp. 2015; (95): 52343. PMID: 25590238, PMCID: PMC4354498, DOI: 10.3791/52343, ISSN: 1940-087X.

Jerrell RJ, Parekh A. Cellular traction stresses mediate extracellular matrix degradation by invadopodia. Acta Biomater [print-electronic]. 2014 May; 10(5): 1886-96. PMID: 24412623, PMCID: PMC3976707, PII: S1742-7061(14)00002-6, DOI: 10.1016/j.actbio.2013.12.058, ISSN: 1878-7568.

Weaver AM, Page JM, Guelcher SA, Parekh A. Synthetic and tissue-derived models for studying rigidity effects on invadopodia activity. Methods Mol. Biol. 2013; 1046: 171-89. PMID: 23868588, DOI: 10.1007/978-1-62703-538-5_10, ISSN: 1940-6029.