Megan Laura McCain, PhD

Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering

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Megan L. McCain earned her bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis in 2006. As an undergraduate, she worked as a summer intern in the Worldwide Safety Sciences Department at Pfizer, Inc., and in the Research Resources Branch at the National Institute on Aging. She completed her doctoral studies in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University, including one year abroad in the Department of Physiology at the University of Bern, Switzerland. While a graduate student, Megan was the recipient of an American Heart Association Pre-doctoral Fellowship and the Derek Bok Certificate of Distinction in Teaching. She received her PhD in Engineering and Applied Sciences in 2012 and continued at Harvard University as a postdoctoral fellow at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. McCain joined the Department of Biomedical Engineering at University of Southern California in January 2014. She has a secondary appointment in the Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. She is a member of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) and the American Heart Association (AHA).


  • User-friendly microfluidic system reveals native-like morphological and transcriptomic phenotypes induced by shear stress in proximal tubule epithelium APL Bioeng. 2023 Sep; 7(3):036106. . View in PubMed
  • Engineering Programmable Material-To-Cell Pathways Via Synthetic Notch Receptors To Spatially Control Cellular Phenotypes In Multi-Cellular Constructs bioRxiv. 2023 May 20. . View in PubMed
  • Methods for dynamic and whole volume imaging of the zebrafish heart Dev Biol. 2023 12; 504:75-85. . View in PubMed
  • Regulation of oxytocin-induced calcium transients and gene expression in engineered myometrial tissues by tissue architecture and matrix rigidity Curr Res Physiol. 2023; 6:100108. . View in PubMed
  • A myocardial infarct border-zone-on-a-chip demonstrates distinct regulation of cardiac tissue function by an oxygen gradient Sci Adv. 2022 Dec 09; 8(49):eabn7097. . View in PubMed
  • Modeling Patient-Specific Muscular Dystrophy Phenotypes and Therapeutic Responses in Reprogrammed Myotubes Engineered on Micromolded Gelatin Hydrogels Front Cell Dev Biol. 2022; 10:830415. . View in PubMed
  • Editorial: Modeling neuromuscular diseases to determine molecular drivers of pathology and for drug discovery Front Cell Dev Biol. 2022; 10:1017356. . View in PubMed
  • Quantifying Propagation Velocity from Engineered Cardiac Tissues with High-Speed Fluorescence Microscopy and Automated Analysis Software Methods Mol Biol. 2022; 2485:133-145. . View in PubMed
  • Heterogeneous pdgfrb+ cells regulate coronary vessel development and revascularization during heart regeneration Development. 2022 02 15; 149(4). . View in PubMed
  • Engineering skeletal muscle tissues with advanced maturity improves synapse formation with human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived motor neurons APL Bioeng. 2021 Sep; 5(3):036101. . View in PubMed
  • Optical Clearing of Skeletal Muscle Bundles Engineered in 3-D Printed Templates Ann Biomed Eng. 2021 Feb; 49(2):523-535. . View in PubMed
  • Characterization of Gelatin Hydrogels Cross-Linked with Microbial Transglutaminase as Engineered Skeletal Muscle Substrates Bioengineering (Basel). 2021 Jan 06; 8(1). . View in PubMed
  • Tools, techniques, and future opportunities for characterizing the mechanobiology of uterine myometrium Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2021 05; 246(9):1025-1035. . View in PubMed
  • Mitochondrial architecture in cardiac myocytes depends on cell shape and matrix rigidity J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2021 01; 150:32-43. . View in PubMed
  • Engineering the Cellular Microenvironment of Post-infarct Myocardium on a Chip Front Cardiovasc Med. 2021; 8:709871. . View in PubMed
  • Contact photolithography-free integration of patterned and semi-transparent indium tin oxide stimulation electrodes into polydimethylsiloxane-based heart-on-a-chip devices for streamlining physiological recordings Lab Chip. 2021 02 23; 21(4):674-687. . View in PubMed
  • Engineering Shape-Controlled Microtissues on Compliant Hydrogels with Tunable Rigidity and Extracellular Matrix Ligands Methods Mol Biol. 2021; 2258:57-72. . View in PubMed
  • Mitochondrial division inhibitor 1 (mdivi-1) increases oxidative capacity and contractile stress generated by engineered skeletal muscle FASEB J. 2020 09; 34(9):11562-11576. . View in PubMed
  • Extended culture and imaging of normal and regenerating adult zebrafish hearts in a fluidic device Lab Chip. 2020 01 21; 20(2):274-284. . View in PubMed
  • Regulation of calcium dynamics and propagation velocity by tissue microstructure in engineered strands of cardiac tissue Integr Biol (Camb). 2020 03 06; 12(2):34-46. . View in PubMed
  • Neuromuscular disease modeling on a chip Dis Model Mech. 2020 07 07; 13(7). . View in PubMed
  • Matrix-guided control of mitochondrial function in cardiac myocytes Acta Biomater. 2019 10 01; 97:281-295. . View in PubMed
  • Microenvironmental Modulation of Calcium Wave Propagation Velocity in Engineered Cardiac Tissues Cell Mol Bioeng. 2018 Oct; 11(5):337-352. . View in PubMed
  • Featured Article: TGF-ß1 dominates extracellular matrix rigidity for inducing differentiation of human cardiac fibroblasts to myofibroblasts Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2018 04; 243(7):601-612. . View in PubMed
  • Engineering cardiac microphysiological systems to model pathological extracellular matrix remodeling Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2018 10 01; 315(4):H771-H789. . View in PubMed
  • Mitochondrial function in engineered cardiac tissues is regulated by extracellular matrix elasticity and tissue alignment Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2017 Oct 01; 313(4):H757-H767. . View in PubMed
  • Toward improved myocardial maturity in an organ-on-chip platform with immature cardiac myocytes Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2017 11; 242(17):1643-1656. . View in PubMed
  • Engineering micromyocardium to delineate cellular and extracellular regulation of myocardial tissue contractility Integr Biol (Camb). 2017 09 18; 9(9):730-741. . View in PubMed
  • Fabrication of Micromolded Gelatin Hydrogels for Long-Term Culture of Aligned Skeletal Myotubes Methods Mol Biol. 2017; 1668:147-163. . View in PubMed
  • Coupling primary and stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes in an in vitro model of cardiac cell therapy J Cell Biol. 2016 Feb 15; 212(4):389-97. . View in PubMed
  • Prolonged Culture of Aligned Skeletal Myotubes on Micromolded Gelatin Hydrogels Sci Rep. 2016 06 28; 6:28855. . View in PubMed
  • Angiotensin II Induced Cardiac Dysfunction on a Chip PLoS One. 2016; 11(1):e0146415. . View in PubMed
  • Cytoskeletal prestress regulates nuclear shape and stiffness in cardiac myocytes Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2015 Nov; 240(11):1543-54. . View in PubMed
  • Human airway musculature on a chip: an in vitro model of allergic asthmatic bronchoconstriction and bronchodilation Lab Chip. 2014 Oct 21; 14(20):3925-36. . View in PubMed
  • Micromolded gelatin hydrogels for extended culture of engineered cardiac tissues Biomaterials. 2014 Jul; 35(21):5462-71. . View in PubMed
  • Engineering cardiac cell junctions in vitro to study the intercalated disc Cell Commun Adhes. 2014 Jun; 21(3):181-91. . View in PubMed
  • Modeling the mitochondrial cardiomyopathy of Barth syndrome with induced pluripotent stem cell and heart-on-chip technologies Nat Med. 2014 Jun; 20(6):616-23. . View in PubMed
  • Matrix elasticity regulates the optimal cardiac myocyte shape for contractility Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2014 Jun 01; 306(11):H1525-39. . View in PubMed
  • Microfluidic heart on a chip for higher throughput pharmacological studies Lab Chip. 2013 Sep 21; 13(18):3599-608. . View in PubMed
  • Micropatterning Alginate Substrates for in vitro Cardiovascular Muscle on a Chip Adv Funct Mater. 2013 Aug 12; 23(30):3738-3746. . View in PubMed
  • Recapitulating maladaptive, multiscale remodeling of failing myocardium on a chip Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Jun 11; 110(24):9770-5. . View in PubMed
  • A tissue-engineered jellyfish with biomimetic propulsion Nat Biotechnol. 2012 Aug; 30(8):792-7. . View in PubMed
  • Cooperative coupling of cell-matrix and cell-cell adhesions in cardiac muscle Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Jun 19; 109(25):9881-6. . View in PubMed
  • Electrical coupling and propagation in engineered ventricular myocardium with heterogeneous expression of connexin43 Circ Res. 2012 May 25; 110(11):1445-53. . View in PubMed
  • Muscle on a chip: in vitro contractility assays for smooth and striated muscle J Pharmacol Toxicol Methods. 2012 May-Jun; 65(3):126-35. . View in PubMed
  • Connexin43 ablation in foetal atrial myocytes decreases electrical coupling, partner connexins, and sodium current Cardiovasc Res. 2012 Apr 01; 94(1):58-65. . View in PubMed
  • 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 Jan; 302(2):H443-50. . View in PubMed
  • Ensembles of engineered cardiac tissues for physiological and pharmacological study: heart on a chip Lab Chip. 2011 Dec 21; 11(24):4165-73. . View in PubMed
  • Mechanotransduction: the role of mechanical stress, myocyte shape, and cytoskeletal architecture on cardiac function Pflugers Arch. 2011 Jul; 462(1):89-104. . View in PubMed
  • Connexin 43 expression delineates two discrete pathways in the human atrioventricular junction Anat Rec (Hoboken). 2008 Feb; 291(2):204-15. . View in PubMed