- B.S., Biomedical Engineering, Boston University
- M.S., Mechanical Engineering, Vanderbilt University
- Ph.D., Applied Physics, Vanderbilt University
- Marriage of Biological & Artificial Systems
- Biomechanics and Motor Control
- Cell and Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials
- Materials & Devices
- Biophysics and Self-Assembly
Primary Teaching Area
Kit Parker researches cardiac cell biology and tissue engineering, traumatic brain injury, and biological applications of micro- and nanotechnologies.
He is involved in projects ranging from creating organs-on-chips to developing nanofabrics for applications in tissue regeneration. Through funding from the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, he is currently helping develop a "heart-lung micromachine" that will accelerate drug safety and efficacy testing.
Parker is the Tarr Family Professor of Bioengineering and Applied Physics in the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and a Core Faculty Member at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University.
At SEAS, he is the director of the Disease Biophysics Group whose research focuses on mechanotransduction in neural and cardiovascular systems. He is also a member of the Systems Biology Program at Harvard Medical School, the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology Program.
The Disease Biophysics Group (DBG) at Harvard University is an interdisciplinary team of biologists, physicists, engineers and material scientists actively researching the structure/function relationship in cardiac, neural, and vascular smooth muscle tissue engineering.
We seek to quantify cellular mechanotransduction at the single-cell and tissue level to understand the effect on electrophysiology and disease states.
Specifically, we are interested in how extracellular matrix and cytoskeletal architecture potentiate and modulate the activation of mechanochemical and mechanoelectrical signaling pathways and genetic programs in cardiac, neural, and vascular smooth muscle cells and tissues.
In order to study these mechanisms at different spatial scales, we use cellular and tissue engineering techniques that allow us to build custom-designed tissue constructs as experimental preparations.
- Mechanotransduction – the role of mechanical stress, cell shape, and cell architecture on cell function.
- Tissue Engineering – development of tissue grafts and scaffolds with unique structures and functions.
- Brain Injury – investigating the mechanisms of traumatic brain injury at a cell and tissue scale.
- Nanotextiles – developing new techniques for mimicking ECM networks for regenerative medicine and other industrial applications.
– designing and building microscale soft biological constructs which retain their unique biological functionalities.
43. Desplantez T, McCain ML, Beauchamp P, Rigoli G, Rothen-Rutishauser B, Parker KK, Kleber AG. Connexin43 ablation in foetal atrial myocytes decreases electrical coupling, partner connexins, and sodium current. Cardiovasc Res. 2012;94:58-65.
42. Shim J, Grosberg A, Nawroth JC, Parker KK, Bertoldi K. Modeling of cardiac muscle thin films: Pre-stretch, passive and active behavior. J. Biomech. 2012;45:832-841.
41. Sheehy SP, Parker KK. The Role of Mechanical Forces in Guiding Tissue Differentiation. In: Bernstein H, editor. Tissue Engineering in Regenerative Medicine. Springer; 2011:77-97.
40. Balachandran K, Alford PW, Wylie-Sears J, Goss JA, Grosberg A, Bischoff J, Aikawa E, Levine RA, Parker KK. Cyclic strain induces dual-mode endothelial-mesenchymal transformation of the cardiac valve. PNAS. 2011;108:19943-19948.
39. McCain ML, Desplantez T, Geisse NA, Rothen-Rutishauser B, Oberer H, Parker KK, Kleber AG. Cell-to-cell coupling in engineered pairs of rat ventricular cardiomyocytes: relation between Cx43 immunofluorescence and intercellular electrical conductance. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2012;302:H443-H450.
38. Mellado P, McIlwee HA, Badrossamay MR, Goss JA, Mahadevan L, Parker KK. A simple model for nanofiber formation by rotary jet-spinning. Appl Phys Lett. 2011;99:203107.
37. Grosberg A, Alford PW, McCain ML, Parker KK. Ensembles of engineered cardiac tissues for physiological and pharmacological study: Heart on a chip. Lab Chip. 2011;11(24):4165-4173.
36. Alford PW, Nesmith AP, Seywerd, JN, Grosberg A, Parker KK. Vascular smooth muscle contractility depends on cell shape. Integr. Biol. 2011;3(11):1063-1070.
35. Dvir T, Timko BP, Brigham MD, Naik SR, Karajanagi SS, Levy O, Jin H, Parker KK, Langer R, Kohane DS. Nanowired three-dimensional cardiac patches. Nat Nanotechnol. 2011;6:720-725.
34. Hemphill MA, Dabiri BE, Gabriele S, Kerscher L, Franck C, Goss JA, Alford PW, Parker KK. A possible role for integrin signaling in diffuse axonal injury. PLoS ONE. 2011;6:e22899.
33. Alford PW, Dabiri BE, Goss JA, Hemphill MA, Brigham MD, Parker KK. Blast-induced phenotypic switching in cerebral vasospasm. PNAS. 2011;108:12705-12710
32. McCain ML, Parker KK. Mechanotransduction: the role of mechanical stress, myocyte shape, and cytoskeletal architecture on cardiac function. Pflugers Arch – Eur J Physiol. 2011;462:89–104.
31. Grosberg A, Kuo P-L, Guo C-L, Geisse NA, Bray M-A, Adams WJ, Sheehy SP, Parker KK. Self-organization of muscle cell structure and function. PLoS Comput Biol. 2011;7:e1001088.
30. Pong T, Adams WJ, Bray MA, Feinberg AW, Sheehy SP, Werdich AA, Parker KK. Hierarchical architecture influences calcium dynamics in engineered cardiac muscle. Exp Biol Med. 2011;236:366-373
29. Vandeparre H, Gabriele S, Brau F, Gay C, Parker KK, Damman P. Hierarchical wrinkling patterns. Soft Matter. 2010;6:5751-5756.
28. Bray MA, Adams WJ, Geisse NA, Feinberg AW, Sheehy SP, Parker KK. Nuclear morphology and deformation in engineered cardiac myocytes and tissues. Biomaterials. 2010;31:5143-5150.
27. Badrossamay MR, McIlwee HA, Goss JA, Parker KK. Nanofiber assembly by rotary jet spinning. Nanoletters. 2010;10:2257-2261.
26. Feinberg AW, Parker KK. Surface-initiated assembly of protein nanofabrics. Nanoletters. 2010;10:2184-2191.
25. Göktepe S, Abilez OJ, Parker KK, Kuhl E. A multiscale model for eccentric and concentric cardiac growth through sarcomerogenesis. J Theor Biol. 2010;265:433-442.
24. Alford PW, Feinberg AW, Sheehy SP, Parker KK. Biohybrid thin films for measuring contractility in engineered cardiovascular muscle. Biomaterials. 2010;31:3613-3621.
23. O’Grady M, Kuo P, Parker KK. Optimization of electroactive hydrogel actuators. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2010;2:343-346.
22. Domian IJ, Chiravuri M, van der Meer P, Feinberg AW, Shi X, Shao Y, Wu SM, Parker KK, Chien KR. Generation of functional ventricular heart muscle from mouse ventricular progenitor Cells. Science. 2009;326(5951):426-429. [video download, 1.6 MB]
21. Geisse NA, Sheehy SP, Parker KK.Control of myocyte remodeling in vitro with engineered substrates. In Vitro Cell Dev Biol Anim. 2009;45:343-350.
20. Sheehy SP, Huang S, Parker KK. Time-warped comparison of gene expression in adaptive and maladaptive cardiac hypertrophy. Circ Cardiovasc Genet. 2009;2:116-124.
19. Bol M, Reese S, Parker KK, Kuhl K. Computational modeling of muscular thin films for cardiac repair. Computational Mechanics. 2009;43:535-544.
18. Chien KR, Domain IJ, Parker KK. Cardiogenesis and the complex biology of regenerative cardiovascular medicine. Science. 2008;322:1494-1497. Review.
17. Parker KK, Tan J, Chen CS, Tung L. Myofibrillar architecture in engineered cardiac myocytes. 2008;103:340-342.
16. Bray MA, Sheehy SP, Parker KK. Sarcomere alignment is regulated by myocyte shape. Cell Motil Cytoskeleton. 2008;65:641-651.
15. Geisse NA, Feinberg AW, Kuo P, Sheehy S, Bray MA, Parker KK. Micropatterning Approaches for Cardiac Biology. In: Khademhosseini A, Toner M, Borenstein JT, Takayama S, editors. Micro- and Nanoengineering of the Cell Microenvironment: Technologies and Applications. Boston: Artech House; 2008:341-357.
14. O’Grady ML, Parker KK. Dynamic control of protein-protein interactions. Langmuir. 2008;24:316-322.
13. Feinberg AW, Feigel A, Shevkoplyas SS, Sheehy S, Whitesides GM, Parker KK. Muscular thin films for building actuators and powering devices. Science. 2007;317:1366-1370. [video download, 11 MB]
12. Parker KK, Ingber DE. Extracellular matrix, mechanotransduction and structural hierarchies in heart tissue engineering. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2007;362:1267-1279.
11. Bray MA, Geisse NA, Parker KK. Multidimensional detection and analysis of Ca2+ sparks in cardiac myocytes. Biophys J. 2007;92:4433-4443. [source code / test data]
10. Adams WJ, Pong T, Geisse NA, Sheehy S, Parker KK. Engineering design of a cardiac myocyte. J Computer-Aided Materials Design. 2007;14:19-29.
9. Brangwynne CP, MacKintosh FC, Kumar S, Geisse NA, Talbot J, Mahadevan L, Parker KK, Ingber DE, Weitz DA. Microtubules can bear enhanced compressive loads in living cells because of lateral reinforcement. J Cell Bio. 2006;173:733-741.
8. Huang S, Brangwynne CP, Parker KK, Ingber DE. Symmetry-breaking in mammalian cell cohort migration during tissue pattern formation: role of random-walk persistence. Cell Motil Cytoskeleton. 2005;61:201-213.
7. Parker KK, Lavelle JA, Taylor LK, Wang Z, Hansen DE. Stretch-induced ventricular arrhythmias during acute ischemia and reperfusion. J Appl Physiol. 2004;97:377-383.
6. Latimer DC, Roth BJ, Parker KK. Analytical model for predicting mechanotransduction effects in engineered cardiac tissue. Tissue Eng. 2003;9:283-289.
5. Bursac N, Parker KK, Iravanian S, Tung L. Cardiomyocyte cultures with controlled macroscopic anisotropy: a model for functional electrophysiological studies of cardiac muscle. Circ Res. 2002;91:e45-e54.
4. Parker KK, Brock AL, Brangwynne C, Mannix RJ, Wang N, Ostuni E, Geisse NA, Adams JC, Whitesides GM, Ingber DE. Directional control of lamellipodia extension by constraining cell shape and orienting cell tractional forces. FASEB J. 2002;16:1195-1204.
3. Parker KK, Taylor LK, Atkinson JB, Hansen DE, Wikswo JP. The effects of tubulin-binding agents on stretch-induced ventricular arrhythmias. Euro J Pharm. 2001;417:131-140.
2. Brangwynne C, Huang S, Parker KK, Ingber DE, Ostuni E. Symmetry breaking in cultured mammalian cells. In Vitro Cell Dev Bio. 2001;36:563-565.
1. Parker KK, Wikswo JP Jr. A model of the magnetic fields created by single motor unit compound action potentials in skeletal muscle. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 1997;44:948-957.