Michaela Reagan


PhD Tufts University 2011, BS Harvey Mudd College 2006


Dr. Reagan obtained her B.S. in Engineering at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California in 2006 and her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts in 2011. During her graduate research, Michaela studied Breast Cancer Bone Metastasis in the lab of Dr. David Kaplan, with whom she continutes to collaborate, and developed better disease models (in vivo, ex vivo, and in vitro) to study how breast cancer cells metastasize to bone. She investigated mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) tumor homing and developed silk scaffold implants with therapeutic bone marrow MSCs delivering anti-tumor proteins to breast tumors.

Her postdoctoral fellowship was in the lab of Dr. Irene Ghobrial at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School. There she focused on understanding how cancer cells, specifically multiple myeloma blood cancer cells, manipulate their bone marrow niche to support their growth and cause osteolytic lesion formation. Michaela developed a 3D model of inhibited osteogenesis in silk scaffolds and examined the roles of abnormally expressed microRNAs in MSCs in this process. She also developed bone-targeted, bortezomib-loaded nanoparticles to modulate the bone microenvironment and make it less receptive to cancer cell colonization.

Dr. Reagan has been the PI of multiple grants, has chaired or been an active member for many committees, and now runs a lab . She has enjoyed working with the many talented researchers in Maine and hopes to be able to make a difference in the lives of people with Multiple Myeloma or MGUS, the disease that occurs prior to Multiple Myeloma. She is also developing 3D tissue engineered models of adipose depots, such as bone marrow or muscular adipose, and of the bone marrow to understand cell-cell communication that underlies diseases ranging from diabetes to cancer. One main objective of the lab is to stop osteolysis, or bone destruction, associated with multiple myeloma and other cancers that grow in, or metastasize to, the bone marrow. Over the past year, she and Dr. Clifford Rosen have been building collaborative projects examining the roles of adipocytes, obesity and metabolism in multiple myeloma.

Dr. Reagan joined MMCRI as a Faculty Scientist and the University of Maine as a Graduate Faculty Member in September, 2015. She is taking on students who are interested in learning about multiple myeloma (MM), who have a strong work ethic, and who are team players. She is excited to contribute to the academic and scientific community in Maine and hopes to make a difference not only in fighting the disease of MM, but also in the lives of young scientists.

Research Interests

Multiple myeloma (MM) is a blood cancer that grows predominantly within the bone marrow and, like many other bone-metastatic cancers, causes painful tissue destruction, disruption of hematopoiesis, bone fractures, hypercalcemia, and eventual death. The roles of adipocyte and osteoblast lineage cells, as well as other cells in the bone marrow niche, in the progression of Multiple Myeloma are largely unknown and compose one main focus of my research.

The characterization of how and why bone marrow stromal cells become altered by cancer cells is a second major question in my lab. Research in these areas will contribute to the discovery of novel molecular targets and development of better therapies to affect not only cancer cells, but also tumor-associated stromal cells to impede tumor growth in the bone.


Selected Publications

In Press

  • McDonald M, Fairfield H, Falank C, Reagan MR. Adipose, Bone and Myeloma: Contributions from the Microenvironment. Calcified Tissue International. 2016. Provisionally accepted by Special Issue on Bone and Fat Editor.
  • Abbott R, Wang R, Reagan MR, Chen Y, Borowsky FE, Zieba A, Marra K, Rubin JP, Ghobrial IM, Kaplan DL. The use of silk as a scaffold for mature, sustainable unilocular adipose 3D tissue engineered systems. Advanced Healthcare Materials. 2016. In Press. DOI: 10.1002/ adhm.201600211

Additional Publications

  • Fairfield H, Falank C, Avery L, Reagan MR. Multiple Myeloma in the Marrow: Pathogenesis and Treatments. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2016 Jan;1364(1):32-51. PMCID: PMC4806534.
  • Glavey SV, Huynh D, Reagan MR, Manier S, Moschetta M, Kawano Y, Roccaro AM, Ghobrial IM, Joshi L, O’Dwyer ME. The cancer glycome: Carbohydrates as mediators of metastasis. Blood Rev. 2015 Jan 23. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 25636501
  • Reagan MR, Liaw L, Rosen CJ & Ghobrial IM. Dynamic Interplay between Bone and Multiple Myeloma: Emerging Roles of the Osteoblast. Bone. 2015;75:161-169. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 25725265
  • Roccaro AM, Mishima, Y, Sacco A, Moschetta M, Shi J, Zhang Y, Reagan MR, Huynh D, Kawano Y, Sahin I, Chiarini M, Manier S, Cea M, Aljawai Y, Glavey S, Pan C, Cardarelli P, Kuhne M, Ghobrial IM. CXCR4 regulates extra-medullary myeloma through epithelial-mesenchymal-transition-like transcriptional activation. Cell Rep. 2015. Jul 28;12(4):622-35. PMID: 26190113.
  • Reagan, MR and Rosen CJ. Navigating the Bone Marrow Niche: Translational Insights and Cancer-Driven Dysfunction. Nature Reviews Rheumatology. 2015. Mar; 12(3): 154-68. PMID: 26607387.
  • Tai YT, Landesman Y, Acharya C, Calle Y, Zhong MY, Cea M, Tannenbaum D, Cagnetta A, Reagan M, Munshi AA, Senapedis W, Saint-Martin JR, Kashyap T, Shacham S, Kauffman M, Gu Y, Wu L, Ghobrial I, Zhan F, Kung AL, Schey SA, Richardson P, Munshi NC, Anderson KC. CRM1 inhibition induces tumor cell cytotoxicity and impairs osteoclastogenesis in multiple myeloma: molecular mechanisms and therapeutic implications. Leukemia. 2014; 28(1):155-65. PMCID: PMC3883926
  • Glavey SV, Manier S, Natoni A, Sacco A, Moschetta M, Reagan MR, Murillo LS, Sahin I, Wu P, Mishima Y, Zhang Y, Zhang W, Zhang Y, Morgan G, Joshi L, Roccaro AM, Ghobrial IM, O’Dwyer ME.. The Sialyltransferase ST3GAL6 Influences Homing and Survival in Multiple Myeloma. Blood. 2014; Epub Ahead of print. PMID: 25061176
  • Swami A* & Reagan MR*, Basto P, Mishima Y, Kamaly N, Glavey S, Zhang S, Moschetta M, Seevaratnam D; Zhang Y, Liu J, Memarzadeh T, Wu J, Manier S, Shi J, Bertrand N, Lu ZN, Nagano K, Baron R, Sacco A, Roccaro AM, Farokhzad OC, Ghobrial IM. Engineered Nanomedicine for Myeloma and Bone Microenvironment Targeting. PNAS. 2014;111(28):10287-92. *Co-first authorship. PMCID: PMC4104924.
  • Reagan MR, Mishima Y, Glavey S, Zhang Y, Manier S, Lu ZN, Memarzadeh M, Zhang Y, Sacco A, Aljawai Y, Tai Y-T, Ready JE, Shi J, Kaplan DL, Roccaro AM, Ghobrial IM. Investigating osteogenic differentiation in Multiple Myeloma using a novel 3D bone marrow niche model. Blood. 2014; 124(22):3250-9. PMCID: PMC4239334.
  • Roccaro AM, Sacco A, Purschke WG, Moschetta M, Buchner K, Maasch C, Zboralski D, Zöllner S, Vonhoff S, Mishima Y, Maiso P, Reagan MR, Lonardi S, Ungari M, Facchetti F, Eulberg D, Kruschinski A, Vater A, Rossi G, Klussmann S, Ghobrial IM. SDF-1 inhibition targets the bone marrow niche for cancer therapy. Cell Reports. 2014; 9(1):118-28. PMCID: PMC4194173
  • Zhang W, Wang YE, Zhang Y, Leleu X, Reagan M, Zhang Y, Mishima Y, Glavey S, Manier S, Sacco A, Jiang B, Roccaro AM, Ghobrial IM. Global Epigenetic Regulation of MicroRNAs in Multiple Myeloma. PLoS One. 2014; 9(10): e110973. PMCID: PMC4201574.
  • Zhang Y, Moschetta M, Huynh D, Tai YT, Zhang Y, Zhang W, Mishima Y, Ring JE, Tam WF, Xu Q, Maiso P, Reagan M, Sahin I, Sacco A, Manier S, Aljawai Y, Glavey S, Munshi NC, Anderson KC, Pachter J, Roccaro AM, Ghobrial IM. Pyk2 promotes tumor progression in multiple myeloma. Blood. 2014 Oct 23;124(17):2675-86. PMID: 25217697
  • Roccaro A, Sacco A, Maiso P, Azab A, Tai Y, Reagan MR, Azab F, Flores L, Campigotto F, Weller E, Anderson KC, Scadden D, Ghobrial I. Bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cell-derived exosomes support multiple myeloma pathogenesis. J Clin Invest. 2013;123(4):1542-55. PMCID: PMC3613927.
  • Reagan MR, Seib P, Sage E, McMillin D, Janes S, Mitsiades C, Kaplan DL. Cell-Based Anti-Cancer Implant Systems: TRAIL-Mesenchymal Stem Cells and Silk Scaffolds. J Breast Cancer. 2012;15(3):273-82. PMCID: PMC3468780.
  • Reagan, MR and Ghobrial IM. Multiple Myeloma-Mesenchymal Stem Cells: Characterization, Origin, and Tumor-Promoting Effects. Clin Cancer Res. 2012; 18(2):342-9. PMCID: PMC3261316.
  • Zhang Y, Roccaro AM, Rombaoa C, Flores L, Obad S, Fernandes SM, Sacco A, Liu Y, Ngo H, Quang P, Azab AK, Azab F, Maiso P, Reagan M, Brown JR, Thai TH, Kauppinen S, Ghobrial IM. LNA-mediated anti-microRNA-155 silencing in low-grade B cell lymphomas. Blood. 2012; 120(8):1678-86. PMID: 22797699
  • Reagan MR, Kaplan DL. Concise review: Mesenchymal stem cell tumor-homing: detection methods in disease model systems. Stem Cells. 2011; 29(6):920-7. PMID: 21557390.
  • Numata K, Reagan MR, Goldstein RH, Rosenblatt M, Kaplan DL. Spider Silk-Based Gene Carriers for Tumor Cell-Specific Delivery. Bioconjug Chem. 2011;22(8):1605-10. PMCID: PMC3157559.
  • Wang X, Reagan MR, Kaplan DL. Synthetic Adipose Tissue Models for Studying Mammary Gland Development and Breast Tissue Engineering. J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia. 2010;15(3):365-376. PMID: 20835885
  • Goldstein RH*, Reagan MR*, Anderson K, Kaplan DL, and Rosenblatt M. Human bone marrow-derived MSCs can home to orthotopic breast cancer tumors and can promote bone metastasis. *Co-first authorship. Cancer Res. 2010; 70(24):10044-50. PMCID: PMC3017423.
  • Zhang X, Reagan MR, Kaplan DL. Electrospun silk biomaterial scaffolds for regenerative medicine. Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2009;61(12):988-1006. PMCID: PMC2774469.


  • 2001-2006      President of Harvey Mudd College Class of 2006; Elected four times.
  • 2006-Pres.      Invited journal and grant reviewer: Nanomedicine, Stem Cells, Blood, Tissue Engineering, British Journal of Haematology, Annals of Hematology, Haematologica, Prostate Cancer UK, Cancer Cell International, Cell Metabolism,  BoneKey, Nature Rheumatology, PLOSone, Leukemia and Lymphoma, Bone, New England Journal of Medicine, Stem Cells and Development, Scientific Reports, Frontiers in Oncology, Obesity Reviews, Oncotarget, Science Signaling.
  • 2012-2014     Director of Co-Op Exchange Students from University of Waterloo, Canada
  • 2012-2014     Invited WitsOn Mentor (Women in Technology Sharing Online)
  • 2013              Scientific Committee Member and Session Chair, CABS Cancer-Induced Bone Disease Conference in Miami, Florida
  • 2011-2015     IBMS Young Investigator Committee Member; Co-Chair from 2013-2015.
  • 2013              Conference Session Chair, IBMS Herbert Fleisch Workshop, Brugge, Belgium
  • 2014-2015     CURE (Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences) Mentor, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • 2015              Scientific Program Committee Member of joint ECTS (European Calcified Tissue Society)- CABS (Cancer and Bone Society)-IBMS Conference in Rotterdam, Netherlands, April.
  • 2015              ASBMR Annual Conference Moderator: Bone Tumors and Metastasis
  • 2016              Scientific Program Committee Member, Herbert Fleisch Meeting Brugge, Belgium, Feb.
  • 2015              Invited Mentor at “Transitions” Mentorship Young Investigator Session, ASBMR.
  • 2014-2015     Volunteer Teacher at Boston Public School Summer School Program for Health, Science, Math and Technology Career Building
  • 2015-2016     AACR Committee Member, Associate Member Council (AMC)-led Fundraising Committee
  • 2016-Present U Maine GSBSE Diversity Committee (Applied)


  • 2013 to 2015 — Reciprocal interactions between multiple myeloma cells and osteoprogenitor cells affect bone formation and tumor growth. from Department of Defense. Visionary Postdoctoral Fellowship Award. CDMRP’s Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program.
  • 2015 to 2019 — Interdisciplinary study of marrow adiposity, mineral metabolism and bone remodeling from NIH/NIDDK
  • 2015 to 2016 — Sponsored Research on Cancer Nanotubes from Bio-Pact LLC
  • 2016 to 2017 — The role of glycosylation in multiple myeloma from SubContract from Health Research Board, Ireland