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Aron  Parekh

Aron Parekh, Ph.D.

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

Contact Information:

522B Preston Research Building
2220 Pierce Avenue
Nashville, TN 37232
(615) 322-0416

Profile

Tumors are more rigid than surrounding normal tissue and experience increased tissue tension.  The changes in the mechanical properties of tumors can drive cancer cell invasion.  My laboratory is interested in understanding how mechanical forces regulate cancer cell phenotype.
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Tumors are more rigid than surrounding normal tissue and experience increased tissue tension.  The changes in the mechanical properties of tumors can drive cancer cell invasion.  My laboratory is interested in understanding how mechanical forces regulate cancer cell phenotype.  In particular, we are interested in how cancer cells sense these differences in mechanical properties and translate them to extracellular matrix degradation by invadopodia.  Invadapodia facilitate extracellular matrix degradation which allows cancer cells to invade and metastasize.  Therefore, our long term goal is to understand the biomechanical regulation of cancer cell invasion to identify targets to hinder cancer progression.  We use a variety of in vitro, ex vivo, and computational techniques to understand how tissue mechanics regulates the invasive phenotype of cancer cells.  These include microscopy (widefield, confocal, live cell), molecular and cellular techniques (RNAi, immunofluorescence, Westerns), synthetic and tissue-derived substrates (polyacrylamide gels, urinary bladder matrix), mechanical characterization of substrates (rheometry, atomic force microscopy), continuum mechanics (cellular traction force analyses), and development of novel assays and custom-made bioreactors to expose cancer cells to different mechanical environments.

Education
  • Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
  • B.S., Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
Fellowships & Postgraduate Training
  • 2004-06, Postdoctoral Fellow, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; Department of Pediatric Otolaryngology
  • 2006-08, Postdoctoral Scholar, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; Department of Bioengineering
  • 2008-10, Research Fellow, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN; Department of Cancer Biology