Michaela Reagan


  • B.S. Engineering, Harvey Mudd College, 2006
  • PhD. Biomedical Engineering, Tufts University, 2011


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 Services

  • 2017                 Veterans Affairs (VA) Study Section Committee Member, (Fall 2017 HEMA VA Merit Review)
  • 2019                 Scientific Program Committee Member, Herbert Fleisch Meeting Brugge, Belgium, March, 2019
  • 2016-2021       ASBMR Women and Diversity Committee Member (Chair, 2018-2021)
  • 2018                 Cancer and Bone Society Poster Judge
  • 2016, 2017      Mentor, Round Table Moderator and Poster Judge at ASBMR Annual Meeting
  • 2017-2020       Elected to Board for AIMM: Advances in Mineral Metabolism, Snowmass, CO.
  • 2018                 ASBMR Conference Session Co-Chair: Cutting Edge Technology Session: Using 3-D Cell Culture for In vitro/Ex vivo Approaches to Study Communication Among
    Bone/Bone Marrow Cells on “In vitro 3D Cultures to Reproduce the Bone Marrow Niche.”
  • 2018                 Cancer and Bone Society/MolPharm Meeting, Poster Judge. Oxford, UK.
  • 2016-2017       Special Issue Co-Lead Guest Editor for ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering on Three-Dimensional Tumor Models. Co-lead: Dr. Claudia Fischbach.
  • 2016-2017       Special Issue Co-Lead Guest Editor for Current Reports in Osteoporosis on Osteoporosis and Cancer. Co-lead: Dr. Evan Keller.
  • 2017-2020       Journal of Cellular Biochemistry- Associate Editor

Selected Grants

  • 2020-2025 — “Defining the Roles of Bone Marrow Adipocytes and FABP4/5 Signaling in Multiple Myeloma Drug Resistance”. Funding Agency: NIH/NCI R01 Converted to R37.
  • 2020-2021 — “Myeloma-modified adipocytes exhibit a senescent-associated secretory phenotype”. PI, Michaela Reagan; Funding Agency: NIH/NIGMS NNE-CTR.
  • 2019-2023 —  American Cancer Society Research Scholar Grant
  • 2017-2020 —  COBRE Project 2 Leader. Novel mechanisms of osteocyte control of marrow adiposity.
  • 2015-2019 —  Interdisciplinary study of marrow adiposity, mineral metabolism and bone remodeling.
  • 2017-2018 —  Obesity, body weight patterns and physiologic mechanisms of myelomagenesis: a murine model investigation.
  • 2016-2018 —  The roles of sialyltransferases and sialic acids in Natural Killer cell homing to bone marrow.
  • 2016-2018 —  BioPact Sponsored Research Agreement Continuation.
  • 2017-2018 —  Targeting Sclerostin in Multiple Myeloma-induced Bone Disease.
  • 2017-2018 —  Tissue Engineered Tumor Modeling of Adipose-Driven Drug Resistance in Myeloma

Selected Publications

  • Tsukamoto S, Løvendorf M, Park J, Salem K, Reagan M, Manier S, Oksana Zavidij, Rahmat M, Huynh D, Takagi S, Kawano Y, Kokubun K, Thrue C, Nagano K, Petri A, Roccaro A, Capelletti M, Baron R, Kauppinen S, and Ghobrial I. Inhibition of microRNA-138 enhances bone formation in multiple myeloma bone marrow niche. Leukemia. Epub ahead of print.
  • Fischbach C and Reagan MR. Editorial: Special Issue on Three-Dimensional Tumor Models, ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering. 2018 Feb; 4(2): 291–293.
  • Sitarski A, Fairfield H, Falank C, and Reagan MR. 3D Tissue Engineered In Vitro Models of Cancer in Bone. In Press. ACS Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering. 2018 Feb; 4(2): 324–336.
  • Fairfield H, Falank C, Harris E, Demambro V, McDonald M, Pettitt J, Croucher P, Mohanty S, Kramer I, Kneissel M, Rosen CJ, Reagan MR. The Skeletal Cell-Derived Molecule Sclerostin Drives Bone Marrow Adipogenesis. Journal of Cellular Physiology. Apr 29. doi: 10.1002/jcp.25976. [Epub ahead of print].
  • Fairfield H, Falank C, Farrell M, Vary C, Boucher JM, Driscoll H, Liaw L, Rosen CJ, Reagan MR. Development of a 3D Bone Marrow Adipose Tissue Model. Bone. Jan 2018. Epub ahead of print
  • Farrell M and Reagan, MR. Soluble and Cell-Cell Mediated Drivers of Proteasome Inhibitor Resistance in Multiple Myeloma. Frontiers in Endocrinology. 2018 May 1;9:218.
  • Falank, CF, Fairfield H, Reagan MR. Reflections on Cancer in the Bone Marrow: Adverse Roles of Adipocytes. Current Molecular Biology Reports. 2017 Dec; 3(4):254-262.
  • Reagan MR, Lian J, Rosen CJ, Stein G. Cover Image. Journal of Cellular Physiology. doi: 10.1002/jcp.25860, 232:12, December 2017.
  • Reagan MR, Lian J, Rosen CJ, Stein G. A Perspective on Malignancy in the Marrow. Journal of Cellular Physiology. 2017 Feb 16. doi: 10.1002/jcp.25860.
  • Glavey S, Naba A, Manier S, Clauser K, Tahri S, Park J, Reagan M, Moschetta M, Mishima Y, Gambella M, Rocci A, Sacco A,  O’Dwyer M, Asara J, Palumbo A, Roccaro A, Hynes R, and Ghobrial I. Proteomic characterization of human multiple myeloma bone marrow extracellular matrix. Leukemia. Mar 27 2017. Epub Ahead of Pres
  • Bornstein S, Moschetta M, Kawano Y, Sacco A, Huynh, Brooks D, Manier S, Fairfield H, Falank C, Roccaro A, Nagano K, Baron R, Bouxein M, Vary C, Ghobrial IM, Rosen CJ, Reagan MR. Metformin Affects Cortical Bone Mass and Marrow Adiposity in Diet-Induced Obesity in Male Mice. Endocrinology. 2017 Oct 1;158(10):3369-3385. Selected as a featured article: https://academic.oup.com/endocrinesociety/pages/thematic_issue_bone_health
  • Moschetta M, Kawano Y, Sacco A, Belotti A, Ribolla R, Chiarini M, Giustini V, Bertoli D, Sottini A, Valotti M, Ghidini C, Serana F, Malagola M, Imberti L, Russo D, Montanelli A, Rossi G, Reagan MR, Maiso P, Paiva B, Ghobrial IM, Roccaro A. Bone Marrow Stroma and Vascular Contributions to Myeloma Bone Homing. Current Osteoporosis Reports. 2017 Oct;15(5):499-506
  • Sacco A, Kawano Y, Moschetta M, Zavidij O, Huynh D, Reagan M, Mishima Y, Manier S, Park J, Morgan E, Takagi S, Wong K, Carrasco R, Ghobrial I, Roccaro A.. A novel in vivo model for studying conditional dual loss of BLIMP-1 and p53 in B-cells, leading to tumor transformation. American Journal of Hematology. 2017 Aug;92(8):E138-E145.
  • McDonald M, Reagan MR, Youlten S, Mohanty S, Seckinger A, Terry RL, Pettitt JA, Simic M, Cheng T, Morse A, Le L, Abi-Hanna D, Kramer I, Falank C, Fairfield H, Ghobrial IM, Hall A, Baldock PA, Little D, Bassett J, Williams G, Kneissel M, Vanderkerken K, Oyajobi B, Hose D, Phan T, Croucher P. Blood. 2017 Jun 29;129(26):3452-3464.
  • Liu P, Ji Y, Yuen T, Rendina-Ruedy E, DeMambro VE, Dhawan S, Abu-Amer W, Izadmehr S, Zhou B, Shin AC, Latif R, Thangeswaran P, Gupta A, Li J, Shnayder V, Robinson ST, Yu YE, Zhang X, Yang F, Lu P, Zhou Y, Zhu LL, Oberlin DJ, Davies TF, Reagan MR, Brown A, Kumar TR, Epstein S, Iqbal J, Avadhani NG, New MI, Molina H, van Klinken JB, Guo EX, Buettner C, Haider S, Bian Z, Sun L, Rosen CJ, Zaidi M. Blocking FSH induces thermogenic adipose tissue and reduces body fat. Nature. 2017; 546(7656):107-112.
  • Fairfield H, Rosen CJ, Reagan MR, Connecting Bone and Fat: The Potential Role for Sclerostin. Current molecular biology reports. 2017; 3(2):114-121.
  • Soley L, Falank C, Reagan MR. MicroRNA Transfer between Bone Marrow Adipose and Multiple Myeloma Cells. Current Osteoporosis Reports. 2017 Apr 21.
  • McDonald M, Fairfield H, Falank C, Reagan MR. Adipose, Bone and Myeloma: Contributions from the Microenvironment. Calcif Tissue Int. 2017 May;100(5):433-448.
  • Manier S, Powers J, Sacco A, Glavey S, Huynh D, Reagan MR, Salem K, Moschetta M, Shi J, Mishima Y, Roche-Lestienne C, Leleu X, Roccaro A, Daley G, and Ghobrial I. The LIN28B/let-7 axis is a novel therapeutic pathway in Multiple Myeloma. Leukemia. 2017 Apr;31(4):853-860.
  • Bar-Natan M, Stroopinsky D, Luptakovak, Coll M, Apel A, Rajabi H, Pyzer A, Palmer K, Reagan M, Nahas M, Karp R, Jain S, Arnason J,  Anderson K, Kufe D, Rosenblatt J, Avigan D. Bone Marrow Stroma Protects Myeloma Cells from Cytotoxic Damage via Induction of the Oncoprotein MUC1. British Journal of Haematology. 2017. Mar;176(6):929-938.

Dissertation Students

Connor Murphy