Richard McCann, PhD


  • BS, Biochemistry, University of Georgia
  • PhD, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Georgia
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Molecular Cell Biology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Research Interest

Dr. McCann’s research in evolutionary cell biology focuses on the origins of multicellularity and how multicomponent cell adhesion complexes were essential during early animal evolution. Model organisms used for this work include the apusozoan Thecamonas trahens, amoebozans (cellular slime molds), choanoflagellates, and several cnidarians. He uses molecular and cellular techniques to identify how adhesome components interact with one another and a broad phylogenomic approach to correlate function with evolutionary conservation of protein-protein interaction domains in simple and complex adhesion assemblies. The goal of this research is to understand the fundamentals of multicellularity, with the expectation that this basic research may identify pathways in the pathology of cancer, which is characterized by the loss of multicellularity during cancer progression.

Selected Publications

  • Elisabeth Ann Carter and Richard O. McCann (2016). Protein Interactions in the Core Adhesome and the Origins of Animal Multicellularity. American Society for Cell Biology, Annual Meeting, San Francisco, 3-7 December 2016. 
  • Haining Zhu, J. Zhao, B. Zhu, J. Collazo, J. Gal, P. Shi, Liu L, A.L. Ström, X. Lu, Richard O. McCann, M. Toborek, and N. Kyprianou (2012). EMMPRIN regulates cytoskeleton reorganization and cell adhesion in prostate cancer. Prostate 72: 72-81. 
  • Shinichi Sakamoto, Richard O. McCann, Rajiv Dhir, and Natasha Kyprianou (2010). Talin1 Promotes Tumor Invasion and Metastasis via Focal Adhesion Signaling and Anoikis Resistance. Cancer Research, 70: 1885-1895.
  • Steven J. Smith and Richard O. McCann (2007).  A C-terminal dimerization motif is required for focal adhesion targeting of Talin1 and the interaction of the Talin1 I/LWEQ module with F-actin.  Biochemistry, 46: 10886-10898. 
  • Melissa A. Senetar, Carole L. Moncman, and Richard O. McCann (2007).  Talin2 is induced during striated muscle differentiation and is targeted to stable adhesion complexes in mature muscle.  Cell Motility and the Cytoskeleton 64: 157-173. 
  • Richard H. Singiser and Richard O. McCann (2006).  Evidence that talin alternative splice variants from Ciona intestinalis have different roles in cell adhesion.  BMC Cell Biology 7: 40 ( 
  • Santos J. Franco*, Melissa A. Senetar*, William T.N. Simonson, Anna Huttenlocher, and Richard O. McCann (2006).  The conserved I/LWEQ module targets Talin1 to focal adhesions. Cell Motility and the Cytoskeleton 63: 563-581
  • Melissa A. Senetar and Richard O. McCann (2005).  Gene duplication and functional divergence during evolution of the cytoskeletal linker protein talin. Gene 362: 141-152. 
  • Richard O. McCann and S.W. Craig (1997). The I/LWEQ module: a conserved sequence that signifies F-actin binding in functionally diverse proteins from yeast to mammals. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 94, 5679-5684. 
  • W. Walter Lorenz, Richard O. McCann, Matthew Longiaru, and Milton J. Cormier (1991). Isolation and expression of a cDNA encoding Renilla reniformis luciferase. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 88, 4438-4442.

Professional Involvement

  • American Heart Association Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences
  • American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • American Society for Cell Biology
  • Association of Biochemistry Educators
  • Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution

Contact Dr. Richard McCann