Headshot portrait of Jennifer Blundo McCaney- Bio-X Bowes Fellow
Bio-X Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2006
Home Department: Mechanical Engineering
Faculty Advisor: Christopher Jacobs (Mechanical Engineering)

Research Description: The powerful potential of stem cell therapy motivates a better understanding of the basic mechanisms regulating developmental biology. The role of mechanical and electrical forces in the adult physiology and pathology has been well documented, and Jennifer was interested in what clues these phenomena may hold for generating robust, terminally differentiated stem cells. The pluripotent capacity of human embryonic stem cells makes them an attractive source for cell-based myocardial therapy. Specifically, the delivery of cardiac myocytes, which constitute 70-80% of the adult myocardium, may restore tissue viability and function to ischemic tissue damaged by a heart attack. Her research was motivated by the limitations of current methods to derive cardiac myocytes from stem cells. Her aim was to increase the differentiation yield of cardiac myocytes through electromechanical conditioning and ultimately the in vivo performance of myocardial cell-transplants.


Jennifer is the co-executive director of the University of California, Los Angeles Biodesign Program. She has a dual appointment as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the UCLA Anderson School of Management and the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine’s Department of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonology and Critical Care.