Megan Killian, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Orthopaedic Surgery


BSRB, Office 2021
109 Zina Pitcher Pl
Ann Arbor, MI 48109


(734) 615-5388

Primary Website

Killian-Abraham Lab


Additional Title(s)

  • Associate Chair for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Megan is a native Michigander and grew up downriver on Lake Erie.

Research Interests

We are accepting new students to our research group.

Our laboratory is focused on connective tissue development and disease in the Orthopaedic Research Laboratories in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Michigan Medical School. We study musculoskeletal growth and remodeling to understand how these processes can be leveraged to improve tendon, muscle, bone, and joint growth and healing. We focus on the cell and tissue-scale mechanisms underlying orthopedic disorders (such as joint instability, contracture, and overuse in pediatric and young adult patients) and in chronic tendon disorders (Achilles tendinopathy and rupture). We train learners to become experts in innovative and translational tools, such as: optogenetics; microphysiological systems; 3-D printing; nano-computed tomography and X-ray microscopy; histology; molecular and cell biology; transgenic mouse models; primary cell culture; and mechanical testing and characterization. Members of our group are from diverse backgrounds who work in a collaborative and inclusive environment to foster individual and scientific growth. 

Research Areas:

Biomechanics, Molecular and Cellular Biomechanics, Organ and Whole Body Biomechanics, Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials, Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine


  • Postdoctoral fellowship, Orthopaedic Surgery, Washington University in Saint Louis
  • Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, Michigan Technological University
  • M.S., Human Movement Science/Biomechanics, Montana State University
  • B.S., Biomedical Engineering, Michigan Technological University


Megan L. Killian‬ – ‪Google Scholar

  • Ganji E, Lamia SN, Stepanovich M, Whyte N, Goulet RW, Abraham AC, Killian ML. Optogenetic-induced muscle loading leads to mechanical adaptation of the Achilles tendon enthesis in mice. Science Advances. 2023 Jun 23;9(25):eadf4683.
  • Wernlé KK, Sonnenfelt MA, Leek CC, Ganji E, Sullivan AL, Offutt C, Shuff J, Ornitz DM, Killian ML. Loss of Fgfr1 and Fgfr2 in Scleraxis‐lineage cells leads to enlarged bone eminences and attachment cell death. Developmental Dynamics. 2023 May 22.
  • Ganji E, Leek C, Duncan W, Patra D, Ornitz DM, Killian ML. Targeted deletion of Fgf9 in tendon disrupts mineralization of the developing enthesis. The FASEB Journal. 2023 Mar;37(3).
  • Killian ML. Growth and mechanobiology of the tendon-bone enthesis. In: Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology 2022 Mar 1 (Vol. 123, pp. 64-73). Academic Press.
  • Locke RC, Ford EM, Silbernagel KG, Kloxin AM, Killian ML. Success criteria and preclinical testing of multifunctional hydrogels for tendon regeneration. Tissue Engineering Part C: Methods. 2020 Oct 1;26(10):506-18.
  • Leek CC, Soulas JM, Bhattacharya I, Ganji E, Locke RC, Smith MC, Bhavsar JD, Polson SW, Ornitz DM, Killian ML. Deletion of Fibroblast growth factor 9 globally and in skeletal muscle results in enlarged tuberosities at sites of deltoid tendon attachments. Developmental Dynamics. 2021 Dec;250(12):1778-95.