Megan L Killian, PhD
Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
Assistant Professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
109 Zina Pitcher Pl.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
[email protected]

Available to mentor

Megan L Killian, PhD
Assistant Professor
  • About
  • Links
  • Qualifications
  • Center Memberships
  • Research Overview
  • Recent Publications
  • About

    Expert in enthesis development, healing, and mechanobiology: I am an established investigator with expertise in the development, mechanobiology, and healing of the enthesis fibrocartilage. I started my independent career as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in 2016 at the University of Delaware in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. In February 2020, I relocated my laboratory to Michigan Medicine at the University of Michigan where I am a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Orthopaedic Research Laboratories (ORL) in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. In this new position at Michigan Medicine, I have initiated collaborations with colleagues at Michigan Medicine and in the College of Engineering and have taken advantage of the many world-class resources available at this institution.

    • Postdoctoral Fellow
      Washington University in St Louis, Orthopaedic Surgery, 2015
    • PhD
      Michigan Technological University, Houghton, 2010
    • MS
      Montana State University, Bozeman, 2007
    • BS
      Michigan Technological University, Houghton, 2005
    Center Memberships
    • Center Member
      Biosciences Initiative
    • Center Member
      Caswell Diabetes Institute
    • Center Member
      Center for Cell Plasticity and Organ Design
    • Center Member
      Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center
    Research Overview

    My research portfolio includes the development of pre-clinical and translational models to study the development, injury, and healing of the tendon enthesis. The work highlighted by published manuscripts, conference proceedings, and invited talks describes the breadth and depth of my expertise in tendon and enthesis development, mechano-adaptation, and healing. Additionally, this work includes new avenues or research studying the effects of FGF signaling, hypoxia, and HIF1 on progenitor cell behavior and extracellular matrix damage and deposition in the context of enthesis loading.

    My laboratory has pioneered the use of optogenetics for in vivo muscle contractility to study growth and remodeling of musculoskeletal tissues, specifically focused on tendon, enthesis, and bone. The core competencies of my lab include in vivo transgenic mouse lines (e.g., Cre-lox) and rodent injury models; biomechanical testing; histomorphometry; and advanced imaging (e.g., micro-computed tomography). My laboratory is supported by funding from the NIH and NSF as well as Michigan-Israel Partnership.

    Recent Publications See All Publications
    • Journal Article
      Loss of Fgfr1 and Fgfr2 in Scleraxis-lineage cells leads to enlarged bone eminences and attachment cell death.
      Wernlé KK, Sonnenfelt MA, Leek CC, Ganji E, Sullivan AL, Offutt C, Shuff J, Ornitz DM, Killian ML. Dev Dyn, 2023 Sep; 252 (9): 1180 - 1188. DOI:10.1002/dvdy.600
      PMID: 37212424
    • Journal Article
      Equitable hiring strategies towards a diversified faculty.
      Cosgriff-Hernandez EM, Aguado BA, Akpa B, Fleming GC, Moore E, Porras AM, Boyle PM, Chan DD, Chesler N, Christman KL, Desai TA, Harley BAC, Hudalla GA, Killian ML, Maisel K, Maitland KC, Peyton SR, Pruitt BL, Stabenfeldt SE, Stevens KR, Bowden AK. Nat Biomed Eng, 2023 Aug; 7 (8): 961 - 968. DOI:10.1038/s41551-023-01076-4
      PMID: 37580521
    • Journal Article
      Optogenetic-induced muscle loading leads to mechanical adaptation of the Achilles tendon enthesis in mice.
      Ganji E, Lamia SN, Stepanovich M, Whyte N, Goulet RW, Abraham AC, Killian ML. Sci Adv, 2023 Jun 23; 9 (25): eadf4683 DOI:10.1126/sciadv.adf4683
      PMID: 37352350
    • Journal Article
      Targeted deletion of Fgf9 in tendon disrupts mineralization of the developing enthesis.
      Ganji E, Leek C, Duncan W, Patra D, Ornitz DM, Killian ML. FASEB J, 2023 Mar; 37 (3): e22777 DOI:10.1096/fj.202201614R
      PMID: 36734881
    • Journal Article
      Physical and Soluble Cues Enhance Tendon Progenitor Cell Invasion into Injectable Synthetic Hydrogels
      Kent RN, Said M, Busch ME, Poupard ER, Tsai A, Xia J, Matera DL, Wang WY, DePalma SJ, Hiraki HL, Killian ML, Abraham AC, Shin JW, Huang AH, Shikanov A, Baker BM. Advanced Functional Materials, 2022 Nov 24; 32 (48): DOI:10.1002/adfm.202207556
    • Journal Article
      Growth and mechanobiology of the tendon-bone enthesis.
      Killian ML. Semin Cell Dev Biol, 2022 Mar; 123: 64 - 73. DOI:10.1016/j.semcdb.2021.07.015
      PMID: 34362655
    • Journal Article
      Deletion of Fibroblast growth factor 9 globally and in skeletal muscle results in enlarged tuberosities at sites of deltoid tendon attachments.
      Leek CC, Soulas JM, Bhattacharya I, Ganji E, Locke RC, Smith MC, Bhavsar JD, Polson SW, Ornitz DM, Killian ML. Dev Dyn, 2021 Dec; 250 (12): 1778 - 1795. DOI:10.1002/dvdy.383
      PMID: 34091985
    • Proceeding / Abstract / Poster
      Collagen Organization Of Mouse Tendons And Mechanotransduction Gene Expression Of Mouse Tendon Fibroblasts Are Dependent On Hif1-alpha And Oxygen Tension
      Steltzer S, Bae S-H, Phillips T, Shah Y, Abraham A, Killian M. 2024 Feb 2;