Sean Megason, 2014

Sean Megason


    Jia BZ, Yitong Q, Wong-Campos JD, Megason SG*, Cohen AE*. (2023). A bioelectrical phase transition patterns the first beats of a vertebrate heart. Nature,

    Munjal A, Hanezzo E, Tsai TY, Mitchison TJ, Megason SG. (2021). “Extracellular hyaluronate pressure shaped by cellular tethers drives tissue morphogenesis”, Cell, 184(26):6313-25.

    Tsai T, Sikora M, Xia P, Colak-Champollion T, Knaut H, Heisenberg CP*, Megason SG*. (2020). “An adhesion code ensures robust pattern formation during tissue morphogenesis”, Science, 370(6512):113-116.

    Mosaliganti KR†, Swinburne IA†, Chan CU†, Obholzer ND, Green AA, Tanksale S, Mahadevan L*, Megason SG*. (2019). “Size Control of the Inner Ear Via Hydraulic Feedback”, eLife, 8:e39596

    Ishimatsu K, Hiscock TW, Collins ZM, Sarib DWK, Lischer K, Richmond DL, Bessho Y, Matsui T, Megason SG. (2018). “Size-reduced embryos reveal a gradient scaling based mechanism for zebrafish somite formation”, Development 145(11)


    Armenise Harvard Junior Faculty Grant, Department of Systems Biology: “The role of waveform in morphogen induction of cell fate”, 2014.

Who he is

Sean Megason received a BS in Molecular Biology at the University of Texas at Austin in 1997. He performed his PhD in the laboratory of Andrew McMahon at Harvard on the control of organ size in the neural tube. He then went to Caltech for postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Scott Fraser on microscopy where he developed “in toto imaging”.

Dr. Megason started his laboratory at Harvard Medical School in the Department of Systems Biology in 2008.

What he does

The Megason Lab uses imaging-based systems biology to elucidate the systems level principles of animal development. They are particularly interested in long standing problems in embryology whose understanding has defied molecular reduction namely patterning, morphogenesis, and size control.

The Megason Lab pursues these questions in the inner ear and spinal cord of zebrafish using a variety of techniques including microscopy, mathematical modeling, and molecular and mechanical perturbation.

News from the Lab

Most recently the Megason Lab has developed new theories concerning how the size of organs is controlled despite numerous sources of variation. In the inner ear, negative feedback between fluid pressure in the lumen and the flux of fluid into the ear allows size variation to be controlled.

In the spinal cord, feedback between the rate at which cells divide and the rate at which their neighbors differentiate balances the number of cells to ensure proper growth.