Kevin Kit Parker
Kevin Kit Parker, Ph.D.
Founding Core Faculty Member
Kit researches cardiac cell biology and tissue engineering, traumatic brain injury, and biological applications of micro- and nanotechnologies. Working in both the Biomimetic Microsystems Platform and the Programmable Nanomaterials Platform, Kit 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. The micromachine will build on his earlier work with Don Ingber to develop a technology for building tiny, complex, 3D models of human organs that mimic complicated mechanical, cellular, and biochemical functions. In the area of nanomaterials, Kit has been leading an effort to develop protein nanofabrics as a significant step forward in tissue regeneration. Current methods for regenerating tissue typically involve using synthetic polymers to create scaffolding. But this approach can cause negative side effects as the polymers degrade. By contrast, nanofabrics are made from the same proteins as normal tissue, and thus the body can degrade them with no ill effects once they are no longer needed. Initial results have produced strands of heart muscle similar to the papillary muscle, which may lead to new strategies for repair and regeneration throughout the heart.
Kit is the Tarr Family Professor of Bioengineering and Applied Physics in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University and 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.