Aron Parekh, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

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Faculty Appointments
Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PennsylvaniaB.S., Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
Office Address
522B Preston Research Building
2220 Pierce Avenue
Nashville, TN 37232
Research Description
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.
Research Keywords
mechanobiology, biomechanics, cancer invasion, wound healing, invadopodia, contractility, microenvironment, extracellular matrix, traction forces, rigidity
Leih MJ, Ramirez MA, Jerrell RJ, Parekh A. Data on the mechanobiological differences in the transcriptomes of human fetal and adult dermal fibroblasts in response to extracellular matrix rigidity. Data Brief. 2019 Oct; 26: 104519. PMID: 31667282, PMCID: PMC6811905, PII: S2352-3409(19)30874-1, PII: 104519, DOI: 10.1016/j.dib.2019.104519, ISSN: 2352-3409.

Jerrell RJ, Parekh A. Data on the negative regulation of invadopodia activity by MLCK. Data Brief. 2019 Jun; 24: 103939. PMID: 31111082, PMCID: PMC6510963, PII: S2352-3409(19)30290-2, PII: 103939, DOI: 10.1016/j.dib.2019.103939, ISSN: 2352-3409.

Jerrell RJ, Leih MJ, Parekh A. The altered mechanical phenotype of fetal fibroblasts hinders myofibroblast differentiation. Wound Repair Regen [print-electronic]. 2019 Jan; 27(1): 29-38. PMID: 30315715, PMCID: PMC6378408, DOI: 10.1111/wrr.12677, ISSN: 1524-475X.

Bowler MA, Bersi MR, Ryzhova LM, Jerrell RJ, Parekh A, Merryman WD. Cadherin-11 as a regulator of valve myofibroblast mechanobiology. Am. J. Physiol. Heart Circ. Physiol [print-electronic]. 2018 Dec 12/1/2018; 315(6): H1614-H1626. PMID: 30359089, PMCID: PMC6336968, DOI: 10.1152/ajpheart.00277.2018, ISSN: 1522-1539.

Kahue CN, Jerrell RJ, Parekh A. Expression of human papillomavirus oncoproteins E6 and E7 inhibits invadopodia activity but promotes cell migration in HPV-positive head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cells. Cancer Reports. 2018; e1125.

Parekh A, Hebda PA. The Contractile Phenotype of Dermal Fetal Fibroblasts in Scarless Wound Healing. Curr Pathobiol Rep [print-electronic]. 2017 Sep; 5(3): 271-7. PMID: 29038745, PMCID: PMC5640269, DOI: 10.1007/s40139-017-0149-3, ISSN: 2167-485X.

Jerrell RJ, Leih MJ, Parekh A. The ROCK isoforms differentially regulate the morphological characteristics of carcinoma cells. Small GTPases [print-electronic]. 2017 Jun 6/26/2017; 1-7. PMID: 28650698, DOI: 10.1080/21541248.2017.1341366, ISSN: 2154-1256.

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.

Heise RL, Parekh A, Joyce EM, Chancellor MB, Sacks MS. Strain history and TGF-ß1 induce urinary bladder wall smooth muscle remodeling and elastogenesis. Biomech Model Mechanobiol [print-electronic]. 2012 Jan; 11(1-2): 131-45. PMID: 21384200, PMCID: PMC3155650, DOI: 10.1007/s10237-011-0298-y, ISSN: 1617-7940.

Parekh A, Ruppender NS, Branch KM, Sewell-Loftin MK, Lin J, Boyer PD, Candiello JE, Merryman WD, Guelcher SA, Weaver AM. Sensing and modulation of invadopodia across a wide range of rigidities. Biophys. J. 2011 Feb 2/2/2011; 100(3): 573-82. PMID: 21281571, PMCID: PMC3030182, PII: S0006-3495(11)00010-5, DOI: 10.1016/j.bpj.2010.12.3733, ISSN: 1542-0086.

Parekh A, Cigan AD, Wognum S, Heise RL, Chancellor MB, Sacks MS. Ex vivo deformations of the urinary bladder wall during whole bladder filling: contributions of extracellular matrix and smooth muscle. J Biomech [print-electronic]. 2010 Jun 6/18/2010; 43(9): 1708-16. PMID: 20398903, PII: S0021-9290(10)00143-0, DOI: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2010.02.034, ISSN: 1873-2380.

Heise RL, Ivanova J, Parekh A, Sacks MS. Generating elastin-rich small intestinal submucosa-based smooth muscle constructs utilizing exogenous growth factors and cyclic mechanical stimulation. Tissue Eng Part A. 2009 Dec; 15(12): 3951-60. PMID: 19569874, PMCID: PMC2792073, DOI: 10.1089/ten.TEA.2009.0044, ISSN: 1937-335X.

Parekh A, Long RA, Chancellor MB, Sacks MS. Assessing the effects of transforming growth factor-beta1 on bladder smooth muscle cell phenotype. II. Modulation of collagen organization. J. Urol [print-electronic]. 2009 Sep; 182(3): 1216-21. PMID: 19625051, PII: S0022-5347(09)01141-0, DOI: 10.1016/j.juro.2009.05.004, ISSN: 1527-3792.

Parekh A, Long RA, Iannone EC, Chancellor MB, Sacks MS. Assessing the effects of transforming growth factor-beta1 on bladder smooth muscle cell phenotype. I. Modulation of in vitro contractility. J. Urol [print-electronic]. 2009 Sep; 182(3): 1210-5. PMID: 19625042, PII: S0022-5347(09)01139-2, DOI: 10.1016/j.juro.2009.05.002, ISSN: 1527-3792.

Parekh A, Weaver AM. Regulation of cancer invasiveness by the physical extracellular matrix environment. Cell Adh Migr [print-electronic]. 2009 Jul; 3(3): 288-92. PMID: 19458499, PMCID: PMC2712813, PII: 8888, ISSN: 1933-6926.

Parekh A, Mantle B, Banks J, Swarts JD, Badylak SF, Dohar JE, Hebda PA. Repair of the tympanic membrane with urinary bladder matrix. Laryngoscope. 2009 Jun; 119(6): 1206-13. PMID: 19358244, PMCID: PMC3003594, DOI: 10.1002/lary.20233, ISSN: 1531-4995.

Parekh A, Sandulache VC, Singh T, Cetin S, Sacks MS, Dohar JE, Hebda PA. Prostaglandin E2 differentially regulates contraction and structural reorganization of anchored collagen gels by human adult and fetal dermal fibroblasts. Wound Repair Regen. 2009 Jan; 17(1): 88-98. PMID: 19152655, PMCID: PMC3000117, PII: WRR445, DOI: 10.1111/j.1524-475X.2008.00445.x, ISSN: 1524-475X.

Alexander NR, Branch KM, Parekh A, Clark ES, Iwueke IC, Guelcher SA, Weaver AM. Extracellular matrix rigidity promotes invadopodia activity. Curr. Biol [print-electronic]. 2008 Sep 9/9/2008; 18(17): 1295-9. PMID: 18718759, PMCID: PMC2555969, PII: S0960-9822(08)01035-X, DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2008.07.090, ISSN: 0960-9822.

Sandulache VC, Parekh A, Dohar JE, Hebda PA. Fetal dermal fibroblasts retain a hyperactive migratory and contractile phenotype under 2-and 3-dimensional constraints compared to normal adult fibroblasts. Tissue Eng. 2007 Nov; 13(11): 2791-801. PMID: 17764403, DOI: 10.1089/ten.2006.0412, ISSN: 1076-3279.

Merryman WD, Liao J, Parekh A, Candiello JE, Lin H, Sacks MS. Differences in tissue-remodeling potential of aortic and pulmonary heart valve interstitial cells. Tissue Eng. 2007 Sep; 13(9): 2281-9. PMID: 17596117, DOI: 10.1089/ten.2006.0324, ISSN: 1076-3279.

Parekh A, Velegol D. Collagen gel anisotropy measured by 2-D laser trap microrheometry. Ann Biomed Eng [print-electronic]. 2007 Jul; 35(7): 1231-46. PMID: 17380393, DOI: 10.1007/s10439-007-9273-2, ISSN: 0090-6964.

Parekh A, Sandulache VC, Lieb AS, Dohar JE, Hebda PA. Differential regulation of free-floating collagen gel contraction by human fetal and adult dermal fibroblasts in response to prostaglandin E2 mediated by an EP2/cAMP-dependent mechanism. Wound Repair Regen. 2007 May; 15(3): 390-8. PMID: 17537126, PII: WRR241, DOI: 10.1111/j.1524-475X.2007.00241.x, ISSN: 1067-1927.

Sandulache VC, Parekh A, Li-Korotky H, Dohar JE, Hebda PA. Prostaglandin E2 inhibition of keloid fibroblast migration, contraction, and transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1-induced collagen synthesis. Wound Repair Regen. 2007 Jan; 15(1): 122-33. PMID: 17244328, PII: WRR193, DOI: 10.1111/j.1524-475X.2006.00193.x, ISSN: 1067-1927.

Sandulache VC, Parekh A, Li-Korotky HS, Dohar JE, Hebda PA. Prostaglandin E2 differentially modulates human fetal and adult dermal fibroblast migration and contraction: implication for wound healing. Wound Repair Regen. 2006 Sep; 14(5): 633-43. PMID: 17014677, PII: WRR156, DOI: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2006.00156.x, ISSN: 1067-1927.