Logo: University of Southern California

Megan McCain

Gabilan Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Mechanotransduction, cardiovascular development and disease, tissue engineering, Organs on Chips

Office: DRB 318
Phone: (213) 821-0791

Fax: (213) 740-1470
Email: mlmccain@usc.edu


Dr. 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, which included 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 Ph.D. in Engineering and Applied Sciences in 2012 and continued at Harvard University as a post-doctoral fellow at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. Megan is joining the Department of Biomedical Engineering at University of Southern California in January 2014. She is a member of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB), and the American Heart Association (AHA).


Dr. McCain’s research group leverages techniques in tissue engineering to understand mechanisms of development and disease on the cell and tissue level. We develop and utilize tools that can probe structure-function relationships in engineered cells and tissues across multiple spatial and temporal scales. One of our primary research goals is to understand how biomechanical forces, such as matrix stiffness, regulate processes of morphogenesis and pathogenesis in cardiac cells and tissues, such as myofibrillogenesis, intercalated disc assembly and disassembly, and contractile force generation. We are also interested in engineering micro-scale mimics of human tissues, known as “Organs on Chips,” that have applications for toxicity and efficacy screening in the pharmaceutical industry. By combining our tissue engineering strategies with patient-specific stem cell-derived cardiac myocytes and other cell types, our platforms can also be used to investigate mechanisms of genetic diseases and screen therapeutics on a patient-by-patient basis.