Logo: University of Southern California

High School Students Visit Lab Researching “Heart-on-a-Chip”

Professor Megan McCain opens her research lab to Ortho physics students
January 22, 2016 —

Orthopaedic Medical Magnet High School students visited Professor Megan McCain’s biomedical engineering laboratory on January 22, 2016, to learn about her research creating “hearts on a chip.” The field trip to the Laboratory for Living Systems Engineering is part of an ongoing collaboration between Dr. McCain and the “Ortho” students on a biotechnology pathway curriculum.

Students in Mr. Nathan Brown’s physics class were introduced to the rationale and process of creating organs on chips as a more sustainable way to test new drugs. Dr. McCain’s graduate students set up three separate stations to teach students about the process, show them how they create the platform for growing the heart cells, and tell them about how stem cells are cultivated and incubated. Students were able to hold and inspect samples of the chips as well as watch the centrifuges at work. Dr. McCain's graduate students giving demonstrations included Nethika Ariyasinghe, Nathan Cho, Davi Leite, and Andrew Petersen.

Shown above from L to R are: Brian Boyle (Linked Learning Career Specialist, Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce), Dr. Megan McCain, Ortho Principal Erick Mata.

Dr. McCain uses centrifuges in her research creating chips with heart cells that can be used to test novel drug compounds. Learn more about the collaborations between USC Viterbi Adopt-a-School, Adopt-a-Teacher here.

Ortho students observed many different lab procedures.
 Ph.D. student Nethika Ariyasinghe demonstrates in the lab.