Biology Department FacultyElizabeth R. McCain
New Science Building 120
484 664-3255


B.S. Biology, New College
M.S. Marine Science, University of South Carolina
Ph.D. Zoology, University of Texas

Courses Taught

Principles of Biology II (BIO 151)
Principles of Biology III labs (Bio 151)
Concepts of Biology
Developmental Biology (BIO 240)
Histology (BIO 360)
Scanning Electron Microscopy (BIO 423)
Transmission Electron Microscopy (BIO 421)
The Nature of Science, a First Year Seminar

Research Interests

My primary interest is the early development of marine invertebrates but I have also worked with amphibians, chickens, and other types of invertebrates. I am primarily interested in how cells learn or acquire their final fate. The tools I use in the lab revolve around microscopy, with light and fluorescent compound microscopes and the electron microscope, both transmission (TEM) and scanning (SEM). My other research interests essentially follow those initiated by my students. I am a strong advocate of students developing their own research questions and, with my help, devising experiments to answer those questions in the laboratory.


Cohen, Ross, John Schocken, Athanasios Kaldis, Konstantinos E. Vlachonasios, Amy T. Hark, and Elizabeth R. McCain. 2009. The histone acetyltransferase GCN5 affects the inflorescence meristem and stamen development in Arabidopsis. Planta 230: 1207-1221.

Elizabeth McCain. 2008. Poecilogony as a tool for understanding speciation: Early development of Streblospio benedicti and Streblospio gynobranchiata (Polychaeta:Spionidae). Invertebrate Reproduction & Development.  51(2): 91-101.

McCain, Elizabeth, Kay Grimnes, Cindy Trussell C. 2007.  When drug sales and science collide. National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science.

McCain, Elizabeth and Jacqueline McLaughin J. 2007. Chicken embryonic heart lab. Library of Educational Annotated Developmental Biology Resources.

McCain, Elizabeth R. 2004. The case of Eric, Lou Gehrig’s disease and stem cell research. National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science. In Press.

McCain, Elizabeth R. and Jacqueline McLaughlin. 1998. The Development and Physiology of the Embryonic Chicken Heart. Proceedings of the 20th Workshop/Conference of the Association for Biology Laboratory Education. 20: 1-15.

McLaughlin, Jacqueline and McCain, Elizabeth R. 1997. In vivo and In vitro development of the chicken heart. Proceedings of the 19th Workshop/Conference of the Association for Biology Laboratory Education. 19: 331-332.
Recent Student Presentations


Principle Investigator of NSF-CCLI grant, Muhlenberg College 2002 $240,000 matching funds grant allowed us to purchase computer and microscopy equipment for the Principles of Biology Labs.


Axolotl Neurulation Video